Below, you will see events that have already been mentioned in TURN plotted on a historically accurate timeline. Some of the dates might surprise you! This timeline will be constantly updated to reflect the major historical events depicted in the show as each episode airs. Suggestions for items to add to the timeline are welcome, as long as they are events that have already been discussed in the show!
It’s not unusual for movies and TV shows to heavily adapt a real-life timeline of events to fit their own goals and time constraints. Historical timelines are often compressed or shuffled around in order to create a more dramatic pace suitable for a modern audience. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that a show like TURN will contain some “chronological flexibility.” (Read more about TURN’s quasi-historical TV timeline here.)
Below is a text list of the events seen on the above timeline infographic, along with links (when available) to sites where you can read more about each particular event.
Dec. 1753 Marriage of Richard & Mary (Townsend) Hewlett in Hempstead, NY
Nov. 1775 Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, issues a proclamation decreeing slaves & servants of Virginian rebels will be granted freedom if they take up arms for the King.
May 1776 Creation of British company of Black Pioneers, under the command of Capt. George Martin
June 1776 Thomas Hickey, a member of Washington’s personal guard, is executed for “mutiny, sedition, and treachery.”
Aug. 1776 Formation of the Queen’s American Rangers, headed by Robert Rogers
. Battle of Long Island: Benjamin Tallmadge’s brother William (not Samuel) captured and imprisoned on British ship Jersey, dying before the end of the year.
Sept. 1776 Nathan Hale hanged as a spy by the British in New York City
Nov. 1776 Fall of Continental Army Forts Washington and Lee
Dec. 1776 Capture of General Charles Lee
. Washington crosses the Delaware/Battle of Trenton
Aug. 1777 Battle of Setauket
Sep. 1777 British occupation of Philadelphia under General Howe begins
Oct. 1777 British General Burgoyne surrenders after defeat at Saratoga, NY. American General Benedict Arnold severely injures his leg as a result of a battle would obtained at Saratoga.
Dec. 1777 Capture of Selah Strong (charged with treasonable correspondence with His Majesty’s enemies)
May 1778 The Meschianza, a huge, lavish party organized by John Andre in honor of Gen. William Howe, takes place in Philadelphia.
June 1778 Battle of Monmouth
Aug. 1778 Formation of Culper Spy Ring
Oct. 1778 Execution of John Herring for stealing
Feb. 1779 John Graves Simcoe writes his famous Valentine’s Day poem — not to Anna Strong, but to Miss Sarah Townsend of Oyster Bay, NY
Apr. 1779 Major John Andre appointed by Sir Henry Clinton as head of British Intelligence
. Marriage of Benedict Arnold (age 38) and Peggy Shippen (age 18)
July 1779 Battle of Stony Point, NY
Sept. 1779 John Andre, carrying secret information out-of-uniform, is captured and charged with espionage. Upon hearing the news, Benedict Arnold flees West Point and escapes into British custody aboard the HMS Vulture.
Oct. 1779 John Andre is hanged as a spy by the Continental Army in Tappan, NY.
Nov. 1784 Marriage of Abraham Woodhull & Mary (Smith) Woodhull
Late 1780s King George III first exhibits signs of mental instability
1803 John Hawkins patents a letter-copying device he calls a “polygraph.” Thomas Jefferson acquires one in 1804 which can be still be seen today at Monticello.
1805 Nathaniel Sackett dies, age 68 (after living a rather full and active life)
Things you will never see on this timeline because they never happened at ANY point in time:
The following list contains purely fictional people and events that have been invented for dramatic purposes in TURN. This list, of course, could be much longer, but for now I’ve limited it to the items people have asked about most frequently.
- Engagement of Abraham Woodhull and Anna Smith
- Abraham Woodhull attending King’s College
- Any skirmish between Benjamin Tallmadge’s (2nd Continental) Dragoons and Robert Rogers’ (Queens) Rangers
- Any historical information related to the following fictional people:
. – Thomas Woodhull (Abraham’s older brother)
. – Thomas Woodhull (Abraham’s infant son)
. – Abigail or Cicero (former slaves of the Strongs)
. – “Edmund” Hewlett (whose character is clearly modeled after Richard Hewlett)
- Random, brutal executions at the hand of John Graves Simcoe (e.g. at the Battle of Setauket)