Abraham Busset (1704--1761) was a Palatine emigrant from Europe, who later became a notable land-holder in early New Bern, North Carolina. Despite strong evidence of his European (probably Swiss [1] ) ancestry, the exact location of his birth is unknown. The ancestry of Abraham and his sister Margaret Busset Simmons is an important area of interest for genealogists seeking to extend their family tree beyond New Bern.

European AncestryEdit

Records linking the Bussets to their ancestral home in Europe are scarce. Jones[2] suggests that Abraham and Margaret are children of a Daniel Buschart/Boset/Busset who came to the US as part of the ``4th Rotterdam Departure of Palatines. As Jones states, this is only a ``Possible scenario. Another possibility is that they are the children of Johann and Maria Buchse/Busset mentioned in a letter by Margaret's husband Johannes Simon to his grandfather in Switzerland [3].

It has been suggested[4] that the Abraham Busset born in 1658 in the Ormont-Dessus village of Vaud canton in Switzerland is the father of Abraham and Margaret. It is intriguing to note that church records of Ormont-Dessus show at least four Abraham Bussets[5] from the period 1650-1750. Finding a link between the Bussets and Ormont-Dessus would certainly explain Abraham's name.

Palatine ConnectionEdit

Knittle gives a flowery description of Switzerland's role in accepting religious refugees: (Switzerland) was the common refuge for persecuted Protestants in the Reformation period. This status as refuge apparently was not always acceptable to the Swiss. Luck notes that Georg Ritter and others formed a group to settle land in Pennsylvania and Virginia: Ritter and Co. were to be paid 45 thalers a head for every Taufer (Baptist) they succeeded in carrying off to America and 500 thalers more for another group of about 100 paupers who desired to [emigrate to] America.

Luck[6] gives information on Christoph von Graffenried, with whom it appears Abraham emigrated from Switzerland:

In 1710, Christoph von Graffenried (1661-1743) of Bern joined in the act. As a man of considerable influence, he managed to obtain 17,500 acres of land in North Carolina on which he settled some of Michel's emigres, with still more from the Palatinate. He founded the town of New Bern, apparently assisted by Michel and Georg Ritter and Co. Battles with the Indians made life in New Bern precarious.

Von Graffenried gathered Palatine refugees (apparently including some Swiss) in England, and sent them on to Virgina and North Carolina[7]. He followed later with a contingent from Bern. When he arrived after a relatively safe and comfortable passage, he found his Palatine settlers decimated in number, and in poor health. One of their ships had been plundered by a French privateer, another had a very rough voyage, and in North Carolina they had been settled by a government official on his unhealthy swamp land so they could clear it for him.

The rough times were not over yet for the settlers. Graffenried chronicles in his appologetic account yet more intrigue among the settlers. One governor died as von Graffenried arrived, and the other was not immediately recognized. Graffenried was pursuing silver which Michel had told him of, which surely was a distraction if nothing else. Finally, the Tuscarora Indian war decimated the population again. Abraham signed a petition in 1747 stating that he was affiliated with the Palatine emmigrants; it seems safe to assume that he emigrated with Graffenreid.

Bussets and SwitzerlandEdit

It is not clear whether the Bussets came with the Palatine group to London, and were recruited by von Graffenried there, or if they came later with his group from Bern. There is a paucity of documentation of the trip. Apparently no official ship's passenger list survived[8], though there may be something in Switzerland.

Jones suggests that a Daniel Buschart/Boset is the father of Margaret and Abraham:

Daniel Buschart with wife and 8 children was in the 4th Party Roterdam Departure List; this party sailed for London 21 June 1709. He appears in the 4th Party London Arrivals List, taken at St. Catherine's and Deptford 27 June 1709, as {\em Daniel Boset} aged 59, linen and cloth weaver, Reformed, with wife, sons aged 14 and 5, and daughters 21, 19, 13, 11, 9 and 1 month. I think this is the New Bern settler. Hank Jones also shows Daniel Pasch/Bouche who went to New York in 1710. He is not shown on the 1711 Swiss map, so if he was indeed Swiss, then he was an artisan living in the town of New Bern. His family probably was too large for them to have been living with another family listed on the map. He is not mentioned in any of the 1711 Swiss letters home. Jones finds no record of Daniel Buschart/Boset in North Carolina; the connection of this man to Abraham and Margaret remains tenuous.

Jones above apparently refers to ``Various Letters from North Carolina`` included in one edition of von Graffenied's account. Johann Busche and wife Maria Magdalena are mentioned in a letter written by (or at least in the name of) Margaret Busset's future husband, Johannes Simon, but the connection to the Bussets seems incidental. If Abraham and Margaret's parents did come to North Carolina, it seems reasonable that they were killed in the Indian wars or of other causes not long after arriving in North Carolina. At least there is almost no documentation of the parents in N.C.

As for Abraham and Margaret, there are records to give a few details. Jones suggests that they are the "Minnet Orphans" and blames the spelling of the name on a poorly educated clerk. By the 1730s Abraham Busset had bought land as denoted by many court records [9]. Abraham signed a petition in 1747 stating that he was affiliated with the Palatine emmigrants; it seems safe to assume that he did indeed emigrate with Graffenreid. Though Abraham was married to "Susannah" at his death, he apparently did not have any surviving children, since "John" (Johannes) Simmons was listed as his next-of-kin. Margaret married Johannes Simmons (around 1716, as a guess); they named a son Abraham Busset Simmons.

See Also Edit

Abraham Busset page on Facebook


  1. ^ H.Z. Jones, pp 911-919
  2. ^ H.Z. Jones
  3. ^ See the letters in Graffenried
  4. ^ Genealogical records of Frances Bushman Peel, Abraham Busset researcher.
  5. ^ See LDS films 0128745, 0128746
  6. ^ Luck, 1985, citing Haas, 1940
  7. ^ Grafenried, 1975
  8. ^ H. Jones, p 112
  9. ^ H.Z. Jones, 2002, p 912.


  • Henry Z. Jones Jr. and Lewis Bunker Rohrbach, Even More Palatine Families : 18th Century Immigrants to the American Colonies and their German, Swiss, and Austrian Origins, Piction Press, 2002.
  • Christoph von Graffenried, Account of the founding of New Bern, Reprint Co, 1975 (originaly published by Edwards & Broughton Printing, 1920.), english Translation by Vincent H. Todd. See
  • Births, baptisms, catechumenes, reg. paroissiaux, mariages, annonces 1605–1750, Mormon Genealogical Film, film number: 0128745.
  • Births, baptisms, catechumenes, reg. paroissiaux, mariages, annonces 1750-1875, Mormon Genealogical Film, film number: 0128746.
  • Walter Allen Knittle, Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.
  • J. Murray Luck, History of Switzerland, Palo Alto, California: The Society for the Promotion of Science and Scholarship (SPOSS), 1985.
  • Victor T. Jones, A list of known persons who left switzerland and germany to settle in new bern, north carolina in 1710, North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, February 1997, see also
  • J. L. Webb, Commoners and courtiers in the New World: Von Graffenried’s settlement at New Bern. ??, 1987.