Henry C. Steup was born on his father's farm five miles west of Fort Wayne, Indiana, on February 1, 1852. He grew up in a log cabin. At the age of six, he attended a branch of St. Paul's School on the Columbia Road, housed in a log cabin. When his parents moved to Fort Wayne in 1863, Henry was then able to attend St. Paul's School for two years. In 1865 he entered Concordia College in Fort Wayne. He entered the Seminary at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1871, and graduated in 1874. He was ordained and commissioned as traveling missionary for New York and New England.  He was a circuit rider, traveling on horse back. Sometimes he was gone for a month at a time. He spoke excellent English, and his first sermon, while still a student, was in English. His German was likewise flawless.

In 1875 he was called to St. John's church in Harlem. The village of Harlem had just become a part of New York City in 1873. He was installed on September 5, 1875.
That same year he married Ottilie Kunz in Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Louis. Ottilie was born on December 8, 1855 in DreifeIden, Westerwald, Rhineland-Palatine, Germany. They had five sons and five daughters. One son, Gerhard, died of diptheria as a child, and the other four all became pastors: Adolph George, Martin Luther, Paul Gerhardt, and Robert Benjamin. One daughter, Pauline Emilie, married Rev. Albert Schulze whose church was in Albany, New York, and whose father was also a pastor and official of Synod. Two daughters, Clara and Emma, taught school at St. John's. Clara was also an organist and piano teacher. Emma later married one of the teachers at St. John's, Oscar Forbes. One of the boys, Robert never married, and Martin and Paul each had two daughters. Of the girls, Pauline had three sons, Eldor Paul, Hartwin Adolf, and Arnold Edwin. Emma had no children, and Clara, Ida, and Helen never married. Ida and Helen stayed at home and did the housework. Emma died September 20, 1980.
Pastor H. C. Steup helped to found the Wartburg Lutheran Home for the Aged and Infirm in East New York in 1875, the Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn in 1881, Concordia Collegiate Institute in Bronxville in 1881, and the Bethlehem Orphan and Half Orphan Home in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island in 1886. He was a member of Synod's Board of Jewish Missions since its inception in 1883. Pastor Steup was a large, powerful man, of thoughtful disposition and good temperment. His parishioners trusted him, and he was a comforter in distress, a helper in word and deed. He very seldom used wine or strong drink. He did not smoke. Although he loved city life, he was nevertheless a nature lover. He regularly took walks throughout the city with its parks and hills. He was even kind to animals.
Ottilie died on April 20, 1925 at the age of 68, and Rev. H. C. Steup 1933 at the age of 81.