Jim’s family were devout Protestants from the Swiss/German border and he was the eldest of six surviving children. His parents were Wilhelm and Mary Grace Bachmann and the family was well enough off that it was expected that young James would follow in his father’s footsteps to become a gentlemen farmer.
The family settled in the Carolinas in the early 1700s and while the town was small, he was mostly okay. But as he grew, so did New Bern and when James was in his mid to late twenties he could no longer stand the assault on his senses and escaped into the wilderness. Jim became a fur trapper hiding out in the wilderness, because it was too painful for him to live around what passed for civilization. He met Benton while trapping. When they were caught in a horrible snowstorm, trapped far from aid, Fraser offered him a way to live.