Project Description

Melon

Melon

The circumstances that brought Jean Baptiste Melon to Acadia are lacking in documentation and difficult to confirm.  It is reasonable to assume that Jean Baptise Melon was born somewhere in France. We do know that his first wife Marie Benoît (daughter of Michel Benoit and Margaret Landry) was born in Ile Royale in 1777.

In 1790, Charles Robbins returned from the Jersey Islands to re-establish what had been a prosperous fishery trade prior to pillaging by Captain John Paul Jones in the 1770’s. Charles brought with him unmarried tradesmen and artisans from the Jersey Islands and this appears to be the most plausible explanation of Jean Baptiste’s arrival in Isle Madame in the 1790’s.

In the baptismal records of Domitile Melon baptized in Harbour au Bouche on November 7, 1811, Domitile’s parents are acknowledged as being Jean Baptise Melon and Marie Benoît. The godparents were Paul Coste and Euphrosine Manet. Marie’s older sister Marguerite married Antoine Gellau about 1795 and moved to Harbour au Bouche. Marie’s uncles Pierre and Boniface Benoit were pioneer settlors in Tracadie so there were many family connections that would serve to draw Marie and her husband Jean Baptiste Melon to Harbour au Bouche.

Jean Baptise’s wife Marie probably died during or shortly after the birth of Domitile. The early records of St. Paul’s parish indicate that Jean Baptiste was married for the second time to Marguerite Roy (now King), around 1833. From this second marriage, four sons and one daughter were born. They were:

  • Isaac Melon born about 1833
  • Julie Melon born October 4th, 1834
  • Fidile Melon born March 17th, 1838
  • Isaie Melon born July 7th,1844
  • Jean Baptise Melon born November 15th, 1846

Jean Baptise Melon married Augelique Briand around 1870. At this stage the name Melon was changed to Melong; the reason given for this was that there was a shortage of French speaking priests to fill the pastoral vacancies in the various French speaking communities. English speaking priests were appointed to fill these shortages that came about. Since many of the clergy had no knowledge of the French language, many French names in the area were changed to the way the new clergy spelled and pronounced the names. In the case of Melon the name was changed to Melong.