John Henry Toney was born on October 18, 1928 in rural Russell County, Alabama. He attended school through the seventh grade at the Sand Fort School near Seale, Alabama. His home is an old trailer house on ten acres of land bordered by a large swamp. When John Henry was working in the cotton mill thirty or forty years ago, he drew a picture of his boss. According to John Henry, the boss fired him because he did not like the picture. With that discouragement, he quit drawing until, in 1994, while plowing a field he found a turnip that looked like it had a face and he drew it. “That face in that turnip was a sign to me,” he says, “and I knew the Lord wanted me to draw again.” The honorary mayor of the town put the drawing into his wife’s antique shop, someone bought it and Toney’s career as an artist was born.