new bern 1710

Plan of New Bern
Von Graffenried 1710 [i1]
Colonial Records [i2]
Craven House Sept 3rd 1709.

Present: His Grace the Duke of Beaufort for himself and the Palatin, The Honble Maurice Ashley Esqre, Sir John Colleton Barrt, John Danson Esqre

A Proposal was read from Christopher de Graffenried and Lewis Michel Esqre  It was agreed that a Warrant be prepared to the Surveyor General of North Carolina to admeasure and set out 10,000 Acres of land to the sd Christopr de Graffenried and his Heirs and that grants be passed accordingly.
To the 2nd Proposal relating to the poor Palatines that shall be transported into North Carolina, It was resolv’d that their Lordships will not undertake to provide them with all provisions they shall want but they will give directions to their Receiver General to supply the Palatines with such provisions as he shall have of their Lordships in his hands and may be spared from the necessary use of the government at the same rates he received them the sd Christopr de Graffenried and Lewis Michel paying their Lordships for the same in sterling money in London at the end of two years after the arrival of the  Palatines in North Carolina at £50. per Cent discount.

Memdm the Secretary received a Bill of £100, payable to him for the use of the Lords Proprietors upon Christopher de Graffenried and due upon the 1st of Janry next ensuing.

Sign’d a Warrant for Christopr de Graffenried for 10,000 Acres of land in North Carolina  Agreed that Mr Luis Michel have a Warrant for 3500 Acres of land in North Carolina to him and his heirs he paying for the same according to the rate the Swiss Cantons purchased their Land in that part of the Province aforesaid.

Craven House September 22 1709

Sign’d a letter to the Governor to recommend the Poor Palatines to the Assembly in North Carolina

Sign’d a Warrant for Mr Luys Michel for 2500 acres of land in North Carolina
Sign’d a Warrant to Christopr Gale Esqre Receiver General to supply the poor Palatines with such Provisions & Effects &c. upon their arrival there as their Lordships shall have in his hands towards the support and maintenance of the  poor Palatines afored.

Detail of Cowley map of North Carolina 1737 - Copy of Edward Moseley's 1733 Map [i3]
 “The largest and most significant settlement in the Neuse-Trent area was made in 1710 by a colony of Palatines from southwestern Germany, some Swiss, and a few English at a place selected and laid out by John Lawson. It occupied the site of a former Tuscarora village, Chattoka—a name the Indians took to the New York area when they moved north and there became Chautauqua. The 1710 colony was a result of the promotional activity of a Swiss land company, George Ritter and Company, headed by Baron Christoph von Graffenried and Franz Louis Michel. For some time the baron had been interested in planting a colony of persecuted Palatines and Swiss in America; he had made extensive inquiries about mines, agriculture, forest resources, and the best means of making a successful settlement. In London he talked with the duke of Albemarle, who impressed him with the advantages of Carolina. Parliament about the same time passed a naturalization law for foreign Protestants, and as a consequence approximately 13,000 Palatines arrived in England during the next two years. Most of these impoverished immigrants found their way to London, which was already burdened with its own poor and was in no position to cope with more.
Queen Anne 
by Michael Dahl 1705 [i4]
“Queen Anne, granddaughter of the original Proprietor, Edward Hyde, approved of Graffenried’s plans for a colony. Her position coincided with that of a number of English capitalists, who supported the idea of colonization as a solution to the country’s problem of overpopulation. The queen agreed to assume the £4,000 cost of transportation if Graffenried would take a hundred Palatine families to America. After conferring with John Lawson, then in London to arrange for the publication of his book, A New Voyage to Carolina, the baron decided to plant his colony in North Carolina. Ritter and Company purchased from the Proprietors nearly 19,000 acres of land on the Neuse and Trent rivers for £175. He also paid a substantial amount to the Indians who occupied this land.

“The colonists, as well as tools, implements, and ships, were selected with great care. Graffenried recorded that he chose ‘young people, healthy, laborious and of all kinds of avocations and handicrafts in number about 650.’ His first contingent was sent ahead under the leadership of John Lawson and Christopher Gale while he remained in England to await the arrival of a group of Swiss from Bern.

“The Palatines left England in January 1710, and after a disastrous and stormy voyage of thirteen weeks, during which about half of the settler died, they arrived off the coast of Virginia. As they entered the James River, a French privateer plundered one of the vessels and took almost everything the passengers owned. Greatly reduced in number, the colonists traveled overland to the Chowan River where Thomas Pollock provided some provisions and transportation to take them to their destination. At the site of the settlement at the junction of the Neuse and Trent rivers they discovered that no preparations had been made for their arrival. In order to survive, they had to sell what little remained of their clothes and personal possessions to neighboring inhabitants.

“Graffenried arrived in September with a hundred Swiss; finding his settlers in disarray, he began at once to organize the colony. Land was surveyed, forests cleared, houses built, and a gristmill erected. The town of New Bern, named for Bern, Switzerland, was well planned for growth. Laid out in the form of a cross, on arm extended from river to river while the street that crossed it stretched back into the wilderness. More cross streets could be built and the long one extended indefinitely. Within eighteen months the settlers were well established, happy, and prosperous. It was observed that these people made more progress in this short time than English colonists did in several years.

“Some changes in the making throughout Carolina, however, were destined to interrupt the progress here as well as elsewhere. These pertained to—among other things—the establishment of the Church of England, the presence of dissenting Quakers, the crowding of Indians off their land, and an armed rebellion.
Pen drawing of captivity of Christoph von Graffenried and Surveyor General John Lawson [i5]
“Quietly resolving to put an end to the causes of their troubles, the Tuscaroras seized Graffenried and Lawson in early September 1711 while they were exploring the Neuse River north of New Bern. Graffenried was soon released because the Indians thought he was the governor, but on the eleventh Lawson’s body was stuck full of lightwood splinters and burned at the stake.

“Before Graffenried could return to New Bern, the Tuscarora Indians launched an all-out attack on white settlements along the Neuse and Pamlico rivers, including the town of Bath.

“The war with the Tuscaroras left the colony in a particularly distressed condition. Deep in debt and left with rapidly depreciating paper money to redeem, the colony’s finances were bleak indeed. In addition to the loss of human life, the destruction of houses and other buildings, and the depletion of livestock and crops, immigration had practically ceased.”2 

“Many of the settlers themselves fell victim to the merciless cruelty of the savages. The rest were reduced to such desperation and despair that they determined to abandon the settlement and De Graffenried went to Virginia to arrange for their removal to a new location on the Potomac. His negotiations failed and the scheme came to naught. De Graffenried himself, broken in fortune and in spirit, now abandoned his efforts and returned to Europe. The Palatines never recovered from the losses they had sustained and soon ceased to exist as a distinct German settlement. Scattered throughout the southeastern sections of North Carolina, they were ultimately absorbed in the English population; even their names lost their German forms to conform to the English spelling.”

Detail from Edward Moseley's 1733 Map [i6]
1 Saunders, Colonial Records, Vol. 1, pages 718-719.
2 William S. Powell, North Carolina Through Four Centuries, University of North Carolina Press 1989.
3 R.D.W. Connor, History of North Carolina, Volume I

i1 Plan of the City of New Bern 1710, Christoph Von Graffenried's Account of the Founding of New Bern, edited by Vincent H. Todd, Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing, 1920.
i2 Saunders, Colonial Records, Vol. 1, pages 718-719.
i3 John Cowley, "A New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina," London. 1737, drawn from the original 1733 map by Edward Moseley, North Carolina Maps, North Carolina State Archives, North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
i4 Queen Anne, portrait by Michael Dahl, 1705, Reign 1707-1714, Wikipedia. Dahl was a Swedish portrait painter who lived and worked in London.
i5 Pen drawing of captivity of Christoph von Graffenried and Surveyor General John Lawson by Franz Louis Michel. Michel was a Swiss gentleman who, with von Graffenried, brought the Swiss and Germans to Carolina and founded New Bern in 1710. Image found on the Meherrin Nation website. (A member of the Meherrin Tribe was on the tribal council with the Tuscarora.)
i6 Detail from Edward Moseley's 1733 Map, North Carolina Office of Archives and History.