Henshaw was born December 4, 1849, in Ottawa, Illinois. By age 20, he had moved to Placer County, California.
He married Mary Ranlett (Henshaw) (July 7, 1854-May 8, 1937) on April 27, 1877 in Solano County, and by 1880 they had moved to Oakland, and Edward's mother and brothers had joined them.
In the 1887 Oakland City Directory there is the following listing: "TAYLOR & CO (Chauncey and William H Taylor and E T Henshaw) dealers in lumber, laths and shingles, foot of Washington."
Edward died October 4, 1904. After Edward's death, Mary lived with her son John C. Henshaw. Later she lived with her sister at 1817 Alice Street. Mary died May 8, 1937.