Outlander history: Who was the real Governor Tryon?

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

William Tryon is an important character in Outlander Season 4, but he’s based on a real man in history. Here’s a look at the truth and how it will play into the fourth season.

Tim Downie will play Governor William Tryon in Outlander Season 4. Like other characters in the series, like Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Duke of Sandringham, Governor Tryon is based on a real person in history. Diana Gabaldon certainly did her research to bring history to life. Here’s a look at the real man and who he fits into the series.

While there are no direct spoilers to the novels, there may be some that come up due to the nature of Gabaldon’s research. This is just a word of warning for those who haven’t read “Drums of Autumn” and onward.

Governor of North Carolina

More from Spoilers

From 1764 to 1771, Tryon was the Governor of North Carolina. However, he wasn’t a well-liked governor. It didn’t help that his rise to power coincided with a number of taxation acts against the Colonies from the British. Most specifically, the Stamp Act would see him lose even more favor. This also saw the rise of the Sons of Liberty in North Carolina.

It may not have helped that he only became governor through family connections. His education wasn’t as good as that of his predecessors or successors.

In the late 1760s, he started building his own property, which placed a large amount of debt on the area. he even managed to convince legislature at the time to increase the taxes to help pay for his building, since he’d need workers from Philadelphia to help. People couldn’t afford to pay much more, so it didn’t work out well for his popularity.

Postal Service and Regulator Uprising

In 1769, Tryon did help to create the first postal service for the area. There were some other positive contributions, but they were all overshadowed by the negativity against him. Most importantly, they were overshadowed by the Regulator Uprising, which started in 1768 and would continue until he left the area. This uprising started because of the increased taxes for his property.

This would lead to the Battle of Alamance Creek on May 11, 1771. Tryon would arrest a number of the regulators, with seven given the death sentence for committing crimes against the Riot Act. Another six were later released due to support from King George III of Great Britain.

All this is viewed by many as a precursor to the Revolutionary War.

After the battle, Tryon moved to New York to become governor there. Josiah Martin became the governor in North Carolina.

Next: Outlander Season 4 casting: Who is Tim Downie?

How much do you recognize of Tryon’s life from Outlander? How much have you learned in this brief history? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Follow Claire and Jamie on Facebook for more looks at Outlander characters.