Jean Baptiste Rousseau was a man who interacted in the multi-lingual world of late eighteen century North America; the world of French-Canada, of the Mississauga, of the Iroquois (Haudonosonee), and the English. Fluent in French, English, Ojibwa, and Iroquoian, Rousseau acted as an interpreter for the British authorities in the era following the conquest of Quebec. Rousseau’s work brought him into contact with the larger figures of his time who shaped the destiny of Canada; people such as Joseph Brant, John Graves Simcoe, and Isaac Brock. Lieut. Governor John Graves Simcoe needed him to smooth relations with the Mississauga and Six Nations people, and Joseph Brant with whom he had commercial dealings.
Jean Baptiste Rousseau witnessed the formative period when modern towns were being born in southern Ontario. He witnessed the early development of Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, and Brantford. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Ancaster. A man spanning four worlds Jean Baptiste Rousseau grew up in French Canada on the island of Montreal, lived among the Mississauga in his youth, operated a number of fur trading posts and houses along Lake Ontario, and interacted with British merchants and government officials, and with the Mohawks throughout his adult life.
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