William Tryon was the royal governor of North Carolina until 1771, when he was appointed governor of New York.
In 1751, Tryon entered the military as a lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards and was promoted to Captain in later that year. He had a daughter by Mary Stanton, whom he never married. In 1757, he married Margaret Wake, a London heiress with a dowry of 30,000 pounds. Her father had been the Honourable East India Company's Governor in Bombay from 1742 to 1750, and had died on a ship off the Cape of Good Hope on the voyage home. In 1758, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.
During the Seven Years' War, he and his regiment were involved in the Cherbourg-St. Malo operation. They landed at Cherbourg and destroyed all war making facilities. In September, they reembarked for St. Malo where the operation went smoothly until the withdrawal when they came under intense fire from the French at the Battle of St Cast. Tryon was wounded in the thigh and in the head.
On April 26, 1764, through family connections, he obtained the position of acting lieutenant governor of the Province of North Carolina. He arrived in North Carolina with his family, including a young daughter, and architect John Hawks, in early October to find that the previous governor, Arthur Dobbs, had not left. He said that he would not be leaving until May. Tryon found himself with no income, although he was Lieutenant Governor. In 1765, a house called Russelborough on the Cape Fear River near Brunswick Town was renovated to serve as Tryon's residence while he acted as Lieutenant Governor. Tryon assumed his position as acting governor when Dobbs died on March 28, 1765. On July 10, the King promoted him to governor.
Events of the Novels
Drums of Autumn
In July 1767, William Tryon is introduced to Jamie Fraser and his wife, Claire, at a dinner party in Wilmington. In a private conversation after the other guests have left, Tryon makes Jamie an offer of a land contract in the back country of North Carolina. Such an offer would mean that Jamie would be responsible for finding men to settle and work upon the land – and should Tryon call Jamie into service, the latter would be obliged to answer.
In October 1770, during the Gathering at Mount Helicon, Lieutenant Archibald Hayes reads a proclamation from Governor William Tryon in regards to the search for any person involved in the Hillsborough riot the month prior. Hayes also sought out Jamie Fraser to deliver notice from Governor Tryon that he wishes Fraser to form a militia to have ready when he requires it.
In November, Tryon sends notice to Jamie that his militia is to join his regiment no later than December 15th in Salisbury. By December, while en-route to meet Tryon's regiment, an official notice is sent to Jamie that the militia has been disbanded.
In April 1771, a set of orders are sent to Jamie from Tryon stating that Fraser's militia would be called upon before the 20th of April.
In May, Tryon is present at the Battle of Alamance where his troops are trying to put an end to the Regulators' uprising. The battle results in a victory for Tryon. However, in the aftermath, Roger MacKenzie, son-in-law to Jamie, is wrongfully hanged. Roger survives the hanging, and in an effort to make amends, Tryon gives Roger a land contract for 5,000 acres.
Dark hair and eyes.
- William is from the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection".
- Tryon is a Dutch name of uncertain derivation, though one possible root is the personal name "Trien".
English actor Tim Downie portrays William Tryon in the Outlander television adaptation.