Although most of Jean-Marc's ancestors from Neuchâtel originated in the upper part of the canton, a part of his lineage is found in the village of Bevaix, close to the shore of Lake Neuchâtel.
Vines at Bevaix
The starting point of our Mellier family is Jehannod Mellier, who lived in the late 14th or early 15th century.
His son Jaquet and grandson Jehan were winegrowers in the region of Bevaix. Little is known of these early members of the family and their wives' names are unknown. Jehan had a son named Anthoine and a grandson named Pierre, who married Jehanette Veillard. Their son Lienhard owned fields and vines at Bevaix for which he paid dues to Marie de Bourbon.
Lienhard's son Guillaume lived in the second half of the 16th century and had a son, Pierre, and a grandson, Josué. Josué married a distant cousin, Ester Mellier, whose father Gabriel was pastor of the church at Bevaix. Josué and Ester's son Josué was an elder in the local church and became "gouverneur" (a kind of village mayor) in Bevaix. He married Salomé Pettavel in Bevaix on 3 August 1677 and they had eight children.
Josué and Salomé's second child, another Josué Mellier, was baptised in Bevaix on 5 October 1679, and married Marie Ribaux (daughter of Claude Ribaux) on 27 February 1711. They had nine children, all baptised in Bevaix, including David, who was baptised on 31 August 1726 and married Elisabeth Marguerite Ribaux (possibly his cousin) on 13 December 1755.
David and Elisabeth had six children in Bevaix: their son Abram (baptised 20 October 1765) left Switzerland to live near Lyon in France, where his family were involved in the calico printing industry. Abram's older brother David Mellier (baptised 12 November 1758) remained in Bevaix and married Rose-Madelaine Bachmann there on 10 September 1785. Rose-Madelaine was baptised in Travers on 30 May 1761 and was the daughter of Jean-Jaques Bachmann, whose ancestors came from Langnau in the canton of Bern, and Marie-Judith Greset from an old Travers family.
The fifth of their seven children, Josué Mellier, was born in Bevaix on 4 December 1799 and was well-regarded in the local community, becoming an elder in the church as well as a kind of Justice of the Peace. He married his third cousin Jeanne-Marguerite Porret on 16 May 1829 and the couple had eleven children. Jeanne-Marguerite was born in Bevaix on 28 June 1804 and was the daughter of Jean-Pierre Porret and Marie-Marguerite Contesse, whose roots in the region go back to the 13th century.
Josué and Jeanne-Marguerite's third child, Louise-Cécile Mellier was born in Bevaix on 22 November 1832 and married Antoine-Samuel Grandjean, a baker from Salavaux in the canton of Vaud, on 25 October 1862. They had four children and the youngest, Rose-Adèle Grandjean, (born 14 March 1867) married Paul-Emile Roulet in Bevaix on 1 March 1889.
The earliest known member of our Porret family is Guillaume Porret of Fresens. His son Josué married Elisabeth Porret in St-Aubin on 29 September 1725. Elisabeth was baptised in St-Aubin on 7 August 1707, daughter of François Porret and was doubtless a cousin of some kind.
Josué and Elisabeth had one known child, David Porret, who was baptised in St-Aubin on 19 August 1731. He was a master miller at Valangin in 1773 and in 1777 owned mills at La Sauge. He married Susanne-Marie Verdonnet in Boudry on 13 July 1755. She was baptised in Boudry on 23 December 173, and was the daughter of Pierre Verdonnet and Marie-Marguerite Amiet.
David and Susanne-Marie had three children, including Jean-Pierre Porret, who was born in Valangin on 29 April 1773 and married Marie-Marguerite Contesse in Bevaix on 1 March 1794. She was born in Bevaix on 12 August 1767 and was the daughter of Jean-Pierre Contesse and Elisabeth Barret. Jean-Pierre and Marie-Marguerite's daughter, Jeanne-Marguerite Porret was born in Bevaix on 28 June 1804 and married Josué Mellier on 16 May 1829.
Claude Ribaux was an elder in the church at Bevaix, whose son Josué was baptised there on 1 July 1703. Josué married Marie-Marguerite Gosset on 10 July 1728 and became "moderne gouverneur" of Bevaix in 1738. Marie-Marguerite was baptised in Bevaix on 21 July 1705 and was the daughter of Jaques Gosset and Marguerite Clottu.
The couple had six children, including Elisabeth-Marguerite Ribaux who was baptised in Bevaix on 27 November 1728 and married David Mellier on 13 December 1755.
Jonas Comtesse was a miller at Bevaix who married Jeanne Perret on 5 September 1671. Their son Pierre Comtesse was baptised in Bevaix on 7 January 1677 and married Susanne Ribaux there on 25 February 1701. Susanne was baptised in Bevaix on 3 October 1669 and was the daughter of Jehan Ribaux and Barbeli Renaud. Pierre was a miller like his father and he and Susanne had three children, including Jean-Pierre Comtesse, who was baptised in Bevaix on 6 November 1707.
Jean-Pierre married Elisabeth-Marguerite Gosset in Bevaix on 25 January 1729. She was baptised in Bevaix on 16 March 1708 and was the daughter of Jaques Gosset and Marguerite Clottu. (Her older sister, Marie-Marguerite, married Josué Ribaux.)
Jean-Pierre and Elisabeth-Marguerite had a large family and the oldest of their nine children, Jean-Pierre Comtesse, was baptised in Bevaix on 9 October 1729 and married Elisabeth Barret there on 13 February 1759. Elisabeth was baptised in Bevaix on 6 June 1730 and was the daughter of Daniel Barret and Jeanne Mellier.
Jean-Pierre and Elisabeth had six children in Bevaix, including Marie-Marguerite Comtesse, who was born on 12 August 1767 and married her third cousin Jean-Pierre Porret in Bevaix on 1 March 1794.