Tonyn, Patrick

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Tonyn, Patrick

TONYN, PATRICK. (1725–1804). British officer, governor of East Florida. Born in Ireland in 1725, Tonyn, the son of Lieutenant Colonel Charles William Tonyn (d. 1754), joined his father's regiment, the Sixth (Inniskilling) Dragoons on 16 March 1744 and was promoted to captain on 10 May 1751. After seeing action in Germany in 1758, on 12 August 1761 he became lieutenant colonel of the 104th Foot. On 1 March 1774 he reached East Florida to succeed John Moultrie as governor, and he held this post until 1785, coming into repeated conflict with the region's settlers and his fellow officials but keeping the province in the empire. Tonyn made East Florida a haven for southern Loyalists, raised the East Florida Rangers to harass the Patriots in Georgia and South Carolina, and enlisted Seminole and Creek support for the British. With his province returned to Spain in the peace treaty ending the Revolution, Tonyn spent his last two years as governor seeing to the relocation of Loyalists and those inhabitants who wanted to leave, as well as the evacuation of military bases and the contentious transfer of authority to the Spanish. Meanwhile he had been promoted to colonel on 29 August 1777 and to major general on 19 October 1781. In 1793 he became a lieutenant general, and on 1 January 1798 he was promoted to full general. He died on 30 December 1804 in London.

SEE ALSO Moultrie, John.


Wright, J. Leitch, Jr. Florida in the American Revolution. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1975.

                                 revised by Michael Bellesiles