Henry Ravenswood was a businessman and founder the Big Thunder Mining Company. He was said to be an ambitious, disciplinarian man, who nevertheless loved (beyond reason) his daughter Mélanie. According to early backstory reports, he was however notoriously unfaithful to his wife Martha, but this aspect has not been kept in the final attraction (either to simplify the story, or to avoid this controversial material).
Ravenswood was initially a simple prospector in the old West, but his discovery of gold in Big Thunder Mountain in 1849 would make him a fortune. The town of Thunder Mesa sprang up soon after, and Ravenswood would establish financial dominance of the mining operations in the area. Ravenswood would build a stately manor on a hill overlooking the river and the boomtown he'd helped create.
Local natives warned that the mountain was the resting place of the legendary Thunderbird, and that if the settlers kept mining, the spirits of the mountain would grow angry and cause misfortune. Ravenswood, ignoring the warnings of the legend continued to work in the mines.
Years later, Melanie Ravenswood would become become enamored with a train engineer working in Thunder Mesa, and it was not long before they were making plans to wed. Ravenswood initially consented the union, but when he learned that Melanie's beau intended to take her away from Thunder Mesa, he became furious an vowed he would do everything he could to prevent this from happening. However, before he could take action to stop the wedding, the great earthquake of 1860 devestated Thunder Mesa, and Ravenswood and his wife were killed. Some claimed it was the wrath of the Thunderbird that caused the tragedy while others said it was the result of a massive dynamite blast from the Mountain.
On the day of Melanie's wedding, not long after her father's death, her groom mysteriously vanished without a trace. It was revealed later that the Phantom murdered the groom by hanging him from the rafters in the attic, and that this sinister specter remained afterward to haunt the house and torment Melanie as she lamented the loss of her beloved. It is speculated that the Phantom is actually the ghost of Ravenswood, returned from the grave to ensure his daughter would never leave Thunder Mesa.
- Henry and Martha Ravenswood's graves can be seen in Boot Hill Cemetery side-by-side and located not far from a nameless monument-like grave that is presumably the final resting place of their daughter.
- Some fan artists have drawn him resembling Vincent Price, seeing how Price was initially meant to provide his/the Phantom's voice.
- In the S.E.A storyline commonly used in Disney Parks attractions (including Mystic Manor), the owner of the Big Thunder Mining Co. is a man named Barnabas T. Bullion rather than Henry Ravenswood, however in Big Thunder Mountain's story Bullion operated the company during the 1880s while Ravenswood's reign ended in 1860 so it is possible that Bullion simply absorbed the company 20 years later.