British Royal Colonial Governor, Army General. The penultimate Royal Governor of both North Carolina and New York State, he was born in Norbury Park, near Dorking in Surrey. In 1751, he became a Captain in the 1st Royal Footguards, being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1758, the same year as he married an heiress, Margaret Wake. On June 27, 1764, he arrived in North Carolina as the Lieutenant Governor, becoming the Governor the following year on the death of Arthur Dobbs. His term of office was notable for his refusal to allow meetings of the Assembly between May 1765 and November 1766, thereby preventing the state from sending representatives to the Stamp Act Congress, and for building the Governor's mansion at New Bern, which he had made the State Capital before the administration moved to Raleigh. The cost of building the mansion led to higher taxes, and a group known as the Regulators led several riots against this, until they were defeated on May 16, 1771 at the Battle of Alamance Creek by a militia led in person by Tryon. Seven or eight of the Regulators were executed, but Tryon pardoned six others. The following year he was appointed as Governor of New York State. In December 1773, the Government House in Fort George accidentally burned down; the Governor and his wife escaped to the ramparts, but their daughter nearly perished in the flames. The following April, he sailed on a visit to England, but was ordered back to his post in May 1775. The colonists were, already, in a state of rebellion; in fact, on the same day as the Governor returned (June 25), George Washington passed through New York City to take up his post as the Commander of the American forces. In August 1775, hostile shots were exchanged in New York harbor; and, on October 19th, Governor Tryon took refuge for nearly a year, firstly on the sloop “Halifax”, then on the “Duchess of Gordon”, which was secured in the North River and then off Sandy Hook. In September 1776, upon Sir William Howe gaining control of the city, Tryon re-entered New York. He was welcomed by the Loyalists but, early in 1778, requested that he be allowed to resign the Governorship in exchange for a military post, and was replaced by James Robertson, the last colonial Governor. In Summer 1779, he made a successful expedition into Connecticut and, that winter, was put in charge of the New York Troop. However, in early 1780, he had to return to England suffering from gout, and his health prevented him from taking any further service in America. In December 1782, he was promoted to Lieutenant General, and, six years later, he died at his house in Upper Grosvenor Street; ironically, this is very close to the site of the present United States Embassy. No portrait of him is believed to exist.
Bio by: Iain MacFarlaine