Johan Henrik Rye attended the Norwegian Military College and graduated in 1812. From 1809-1814, he served as an officer in the Copenhagen Infantry Regiment (Københavns infanteriregiment).
He served as County Governor of Jarlsbergs og Laurvigs amt (now Vestfold) from 1829 to 1833. He was then appointed assessor at the Supreme Court. In 1834 he was named to a committee which prepared the formannskap laws in Norway, introducing local governance in the country.
He was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from the constituency Christiania in 1836, and was re-elected in 1839, 1842 and 1845. From 1836 to 1837 he served as President of the Storting, together with Søren A. W. Sørenssen. 
Johan Henrik Rye was one of the sons of Matthias Andreas Rye (1793-1860) and Elisabeth Johanne Lind. His father was a captain and battalion manager of the Telemark Infantry Regiment (Telemarkens Infanteriregiment). His brother was Danish major-general Olaf Rye (1791–1849).
- "Johan Henrik Rye (1787–1868)". lokalhistoriewiki. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Administrasjon og embetsmenn, in volume two of Sem og Slagen - en bygdebok, by Sigurd H. Unneberg. Published by Vestfold University College.
- Johan Henrik Rye born 1787 - Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD)
- "Stortingspresidenter tilbake til 1814". stortinget.no. Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Carl Frederik Bricka. "Olaf Rye (1791–1849)". Dansk biografisk Lexikon. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Jon Gunnar Arntzen. "Rye". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Niels Rye biography at regjeringen.no