Skip to main content
Select Source:

William Tryon

William Tryon

William Tryon (1729-1788), English colonial official, was governor of both North Carolina and New York colonies. He led a loyalist force during the Revolution.

Born at Norbury Park, Surrey, William Tryon entered the army in 1751 with a commission as lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards. In 1758 he became a regimental captain with an army rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1757 he had married Margaret Wake, whose connection with Lord Hillsborough probably was responsible for Tryon's appointment as lieutenant governor of North Carolina in 1764. After the death of the governor in 1765, Tryon was appointed to the position. When he insisted on supporting the British government during the prerevolutionary Stamp Act controversy, local inhabitants so intimidated him that he suggested the use of British regulars. He successfully negotiated a boundary dispute with the Cherokee Indians, and he was finally able to locate a permanent capital for the colony at New Bern, where "Tryon's Palace" was constructed.

Tryon was popular in the tidewater area, but in the west the Regulator movement arose over such issues as inadequate currency, unequal taxation, and unhappiness with local officials. Tryon was sympathetic to some Regulator demands and was a personal friend of some of the leaders, but in 1768 he marched the militia to Hills-borough to put down Regulator demonstrations. In 1770 the Regulators arose again and broke up the superior court at Hillsborough, intimidating court officials and lawyers. After the ringleaders were convicted and outlawed, Tryon, in March 1771, led 1, 100 militia into Regulator country and on May 16 inflicted a crushing defeat on 2, 000 Regulators.

In July Tryon left for New York as he had succeeded Lord Dunmore as governor of that province. There he was faced with the land grant dispute with New Hampshire and difficulties arising out of land purchases from the Mohawk Indians, in which he was personally interested to the extent of 40, 000 acres. He was recalled to England for an explanation and sailed in April 1774.

Tryon returned to New York 14 months later, after the Revolution had begun. He was forced to remain aboard a ship in New York harbor from October 1775 until the arrival of William Howe's fleet in August 1776. In 1777 he was given permission to command a loyalist force and a year later was promoted to major general in North America and colonel of the 70th Foot. His primary military activity was a series of diversionary raids in Connecticut. In 1780 chronic illness compelled his return to England, where he was promoted to lieutenant general in 1782 and colonel of the 29th Foot in 1783. He died in London on Jan. 27, 1788.

Further Reading

Marshall D. Haywood, Governor William Tryon and His Administration in the Province of North Carolina, 1765-1771 (1903), was updated by Alonzo T. Dill, Governor Tryon and His Palace (1955).

Additional Sources

Nelson, Paul David, William Tryon and the course of empire: a life in British imperial service, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990. □

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"William Tryon." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"William Tryon." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/william-tryon

"William Tryon." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/william-tryon

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Tryon, William

William Tryon, 1729–88, English colonial governor in North America. After a distinguished army career he was appointed (1764) lieutenant governor of North Carolina and succeeded (1765) Arthur Dobbs as governor. Tryon was an able administrator but became unpopular with the colonists because of his rigorous suppression (1771) of the Regulator movement. In 1771 he was appointed governor of New York, and at the outbreak of the American Revolution he was forced to remain on a British ship in the harbor. Tryon returned to power when William Howe took the city (1776), and later (1777, 1779) he led Tory raids in Connecticut.

See M. D. Haywood, Governor William Tryon and the Administration of the Province of North Carolina (1903).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Tryon, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tryon, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tryon-william

"Tryon, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tryon-william

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.