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Located in northwest Lincoln County, Tryon is situated three miles east of U.S. Highway 177 on State Highway 105. Homesteaders, mostly from Missouri and Kansas, made the land run on September 22, 1891, into land that had belonged to the Sac and Fox and Iowa tribes. African Americans also made the run from a gathering point at Dudley, southwest of Tryon.

Tryon was platted in August 1893 in the southwestern corner of pioneer Fred S. Tryon's homestead. The town quickly thrived to the point that the post office at Fouts, three miles west, was moved and the name changed to Tryon in 1899. The Tryon Mercury newspaper reported the opening of a three-month school in February 1896; other accounts trace early public education in Tryon to 1893-94. In November 1902 the platting of Parrott's addition south of town was the first step in expanding Tryon to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway, then under construction. At 1907 statehood Tryon had 211 residents. Newspapers informing the citizens over the years included the Mercury, the News, the Star, and the Herald. The population from 1920 to 1970 ranged between 220 and 300.

The Farmers and Merchants Bank, founded in 1903, was the target of several robberies which became town legend. Shortly after Miner C. Sloan became bank president, one of the robberies resulted in the bank being blown up. In 1933 robbers took Clarence Hall and Bill Vassar as hostages. Robbery attempts continued into the 1970s.

Oil production began in 1904 after legendary wildcatter Tom Slick drilled a dry hole near the town. Since then, oil and gas leasing has occurred in the area. At the turn of twenty-first century Tryon's population stood at 448, a decline from a peak population of 514 in 1990.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lincoln County, Oklahoma History (Chandler, Okla.: Lincoln County Historical Press, 1988). "Tryon," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

David Sloan Vassar

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