Mr. Royster was born on April 30, 1914 in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. Son of Wilbur High and Olivette (Broadway) Royster.
He was named after his paternal grandfather. His distinctive first and middle names were the result of a family tradition of using the names of states for offspring, begun by his great-grandfather. In addition to his grandfather's unusual name, his great-uncles were named Arkansas Delaware, Wisconsin Illinois, Oregon Minnesota, and Iowa Michigan Royster. They were usually called by their first and middle initials. These names were so unusual that for many years they were printed in the Ripley's Believe It or Not! series of books.
Royster's father, Wilbur High Royster, owned and operated the Royster Candy Company in Raleigh, which in the early 1900s sold chocolate, peanut brittle, and other candies across the Carolinas and Virginia. His family also had a strong connection to the nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Mr. Royster's grandfather had taught Latin and Greek at the university, and his great-uncle Wisconsin Royster had helped create the medical school at UNC.