Nicolas de Saussure

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Nicolas de Saussure

Birthplace: Madelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
Death: October 26, 1791 (82)
Frontenex, Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland
Immediate Family:

Son of Theodore de Saussure and Marie Mallet
Husband of Renee de la Rive
Father of Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and Judith de Saussure
Brother of Jean de Saussure; Alexandrine de Saussure; Marie de Saussure; Jeanne Esther de Saussure and Judith de Saussure

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About Nicolas de Saussure

Nicolas de Saussure was the son of Theodore de Saussure and wife Marie Mallet. He was born September 28, 1709 in Geneva, Switzerland, possibly at Frontenex, the mansion built by his father. He trained as an attorney and served in Geneva's city government. Nicholas died on October 26, 1791, at the age of 82.

Nicolas married Renee de la Rive on April 26, 1739. Renee was the daughter of Horace-Benedict de la Rive and wife Jeanne Marie Franconis. The couple made their home at Conches, one of the family properties near the Savoyard border. Renee, a wealthy heiress, was considered a femme savante, or woman scholar, who was trained in botany. She was an excellent choice for his wife as his passion was not the law but farming. Together at Conches, they were able to indulge in their respective hobbies. Their son, Horace-Benedict de Sassure, was born on February 17, 1740, and was named after Renee's father. Horace-Benedict became a noted naturalist.

In 1746, Nicolas was elected to the Council of 200. He was offered a seat on the Council of Twenty-Five, but turned it down because it would have meant too much time away from his farm at Conches. In 1740, he studied silvicuture (or forest management) in England. He later became an expert in the diseases of grains and vineyards.

Nicolas' idyllic life was disrupted in 1782, when he was detained at the city gates while returning to his farm. The Negatifs and the Repres had renewed their dispute over citizens' rights. A band of dissenters threatened to hold Nicolas hostage because of his wealth and position in the city of Geneva, until his son Horace-Benedict rescued him. Nicolas was already at an advanced age and after this attack, became somewhat of a recluse on his farm.

Child of Nicolas de Saussure and wife Renee de la Rive:

  • Horace-Benedict de Saussure (1740-1799) was a Genevan aristocrat, physicist and Alpine traveller, often considered the founder of alpinism, and considered to be the first person to build a successful solar oven.

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Nicolas de Saussure's Timeline

September 28, 1709
Madelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
February 17, 1740
Age 30
Conches, Switzerland
April 6, 1745
Age 35
St. Pierre, Geneva, Switzerland
October 26, 1791
Age 82
Frontenex, Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland