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Palatine Immigrants of New Bern, Province of Carolina

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Date: 1710 [unknown]
Location: Province of Carolinamap
Surnames/tags: Palatine_Migration North Carolina
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New Bern was founded by Baron Christopher von Graffenreid when he led six hundred Palatine immigrants to the colony in 1709/1710.

For more on the Province of Carolina, see the Southern Colonist's Project, Province of Carolina Space Page.



Switzerland's political environment at the time of the emigration was strictly against any emigration. It was considered as a crime against the fatherland and was equivalent to desertion. However, these dissenting Prostestant souls were a nuisance, so the Council of Bern thought of a way to get rid of 400-500 undesirables in a one-time emigration.

Queen Anne saw England as the protector of European Protestantism and was looking for settlers in her American Colonies. John Lawson, an Englishman wrote "nothing can be done of more security and advantage to the Crown and subjects of Great Britain, than to have our Frontiers secured by a Warlike People, and our Friends, as the Switzers"

John Lawson encouraged Baron Christoph von Graffenried in his plans to establish a Swiss settlement with the aid of Queen Anne. He purchased 10,000 acres between the Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers in North Carolina for this settlement.

John Lawson set sail from Gravesend In January 1710 with the 650 German Palatines (92 families) while De Graffenreid waited in London for the Swiss. When De Graffenreid arrived with 1 ship of Swiss emigrants he found only about 300 of the German Palatines alive.

At the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers they laid out the town of New Bern. They named it for De Graffenreid's home Bern, Switzerland Their troubles, however, were not over.

They arrived at the most inopportune time. There was a yellow fever epidemic that ravaged the settlement. The Tuscorora War broke out about the same time.They found themselves and their settlement an easy target From 1711-1713 they were attacked by the Tuscarora Indians.

Of the ones who survived these adversities, more than half left New Bern and move to Virginia or dispersed into other Carolina precincts. The small number of settlers remaining, after losses due to disease, war, and the hardships of the ocean voyage, intermarried with residents of other nationalities, and the Swiss-German community blended into the population at large. New Bern, settled in 1710, was one of the earliest settlements in North Carolina. Its settlement was the proprietary effort of Swiss nobleman and entrepreneur Baron Christopher De Graffenreid. It was founded as a refuge for certain German and Swiss Protestants who sought to escape religious persecution and economic hardship in their native lands. Before coming to America many European groups, including these Swiss and Germans fled their homelands for Holland where the free thinking Dutch provided a haven for religious dissidents. Indeed, even our own Mayflower ancestors, the English Separatists, took refuge in Holland before coming to America. In preparation for transporting the German and Swiss dissidents to America, De Graffenreid went to England and negotiated the purchase of a large tract of land along the Neuse and Trent Rivers in North Carolina. The English Lords Proprietors were anxious to attract settlers to the new colony. They, consequently, struck a deal with De Graffenreid under the terms of which each family was to receive 250 acres of land. The settlers thus set sail form England in December 1710. The organizers of this venture knew it would not be an easy undertaking, They, therefore, selected only the young and strong. In spite of their precautions more than half of the group died during the treacherous 13-week voyage. It was an exceptionally difficult and stormy crossing. The group landed in Virginia and made their way overland to the central North Carolina coastal area. At the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers they laid out the town of New Bern. They named it for De Graffenreid's home Bern, Switzerland. The new settlers were thrifty and industrious and quickly established themselves in the New World. Their troubles, however, were not over. There was a yellow fever epidemic. Two years after their arrival they were attacked by Indians. Of the ones who survived these adversities, more than half left New Bern and returned to Virginia or dispersed into other Carolina precincts. But the colony was not abandoned. Those who remained went on with their lives, which included taking up their grants along the Trent River in the area that became Jones County in 1789.

1740 Trent River Palatine Church Subscribers

Whereas we the subscribers have agreed and Concluded to build our house of worship or Chapel on Trent river in Craven County in the province of North Carolina out of one stock Cattle which a certain p: son hath called? & given for the same use and purpose for the use of the Palentine or Germans NOW we the subscribers hereof have chose and elected Mr. Jacob Sheets, John Simons, John Kensey & Peter Remm for to build the same Church or Chapel for the use of the high Germans & the Church of England & the same Chapel is being build on the south side of Trent River between the ferry and John Kinsesses plantation & the same Chapel is to be Thirteen feet long & Twenty feet wide & Twelve feet high & furthermore we the subscribers hereof do give unto the above sd Jacob Sheets, John Simons, Peter Remm & John Kinsey full power and authority to build or cause to be built & the name or title of the same Church or Chapel is to be called the Palatine Church or the high German Chapel as Witness our hands this second day of August Anno Domi 1740. John Simons, Jacob Sheets, Wm. Frank, Christian Slobock, George Snyder, John Letcher Miller,Peter Andrews, John Kinsey, Jacob Fulch, Richs. Remer, John Remer, Michall Pickel, Danl. Fulch, Alexr. Steel, Michall Remm, Christopher Slobbock, Junr., Jacob Rezenover, Jon. Peter Remm,Mathias Rezenover,Casper Reasheal, Vinct. Ameat, George Coons, George Connegur, Jacob J. Pack, Wm. Barn. Subscribers

1747 Petition for Redress

Decades after the disasterous beginning of settlement, a group of Palatines petitioned the assembly for redress over loss of land patents. His Excellency the Governour was pleased to lay before the Board a Copy of an Order of the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of Council for plantation affairs together with a copy of the humble petition of the Palatines in North Carolina to His Majesty which Order was read being as follows Vizt

At the Council Chamber Whitehall the 13th day of July 1747 By the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs.

His Majesty having been pleased to refer unto this Committee the humble Petition of the palatines in North Carolina, complaining of Colonel Thomas Pollock for having disposed them of their Lands in that province which were granted them being by her late Majesty Queen Ann, And humbly praying his Majesty will be graciously pleased to restore them to the possession of their said Land at any term of Rents under His Majesty as shall be thought meet The Lords of the Committee this day took the said petition into their Consideration and are hereby pleased to refer the same (a Copy whereof is hereunto annexed) to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and plantations to Consider thereof and report their Opinion thereupon to this Committee

Signed Wm SHARPE Then was read the Petition of the Palatines to His Majesty, being as follows Vizt

To his most Excellent Majesty King George the Second King of Great Britain Scotland France and Ireland Defender of the Faith

The Humble Petition of the Palatines in North America Humbly Sheweth

That your Petitioners being sent six hundred in Number by her most gracious Majesty Queen Ann into America under the Care of Christopher Gravenreed Barronet her Majesty of her bountifull kindness paid each man Twenty shillings Sterling for to purchase Necessarys for their peopling and settling her Plantations in North America And Gentlemen of England raised the like sum with six pair of hand mill-stones and two pair of water mill-stones for like purpose which said sums and mill stones your Petitioners put into the care of their Trustee aforesaid, who promised to pay them in North Carolina three Pounds for one received from them in England That your Petitioners, pursuant to her Majesty's Proclamation sent to Germany in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and eight had their Lands laid out to them (to wit) to each Family two hundred and fifty acres That your Petitioners Trustee Baron Gravenreed aforesaid entered into an agreement with them to find each Family two Cows and calves and a Bull, two sows and pigs and a Boar two Ewes and Lambs and a Ram which said stock your petitioners were to have in possession for the space of seven years and at the Expiration of such Term to deliver their said Trustee the said Principal and at Expiration of five years of said Term to pay him the yearly rent for two per currency per acre.

That in the year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and nine your petitioner arrived in America and in the year 1711 Indians broke out against and destroyed several Familys in which enterprize our Trustee was taken by the Indians whilst he was yet amongst them We expected him killed then came one Thomas Pollock who ruled both Governour and Country and acted in behalf as a General send to his Captain William Brice to take all the Dutch that were able to bear Arms and meet him at an Indian Town which was about six Leagues from our Inhabitants accordingly we did but he never met but left us to sit two days and one night with the Indians soon after Gravenreed was brought in but did not stay long with us who carried off from our Settlements all that he could conveniently come at promising to return with provisions and necessarys for the War but never returned nor made the least satisfaction for these Things received nor the Money allowed us by her most Gracious Majesty or the Gentlemen of England with Two hundred pounds which we also put into interest at our departure from England.

That as soon as our Trustee departed the said Colonel Thomas Pollock came to our Settlements and took every thing even the Mill stones and left us without any Assistance intirely naked to the mercy of the Indians.

That at the Expiration of four years the Indian War ended and then came the said Pollock and took our Lands from us that we had in Virtue of her Majestys Proclamation laid out to us We your distressed Petitioners being in an unknown part of the world and quite destitute of any assistance was obliged to submit to him the said Pollock who under Colours of a relapsed pattent holds the Land to this Day. That in the year One Thousand seven hundred and forty seven, the fifth day of January the Heir of Colonel Thomas Pollock came to our Plantations to turn us off from our possessions by virtue of Authority in order to settle the Rebels the Scots in our Possessions it being in the dead time of Winter not knowing which way to go with our Familys by which we were compelled to give him our Bonds for as much as he was pleased to ask.

That your Petitioner most humbly prays that your most sacred Majesty will be pleased to award us Your poor Petitioners who have undergone the Fatigues of so long and Tedious a War against the Barbarous Indians a Decree for our said Land and at any Term of rents under Your most gracious Majesty, as to your Majesty may seem meet

And your Distressed Petitioners as in Duty bound will ever pray




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