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ROUSSY, LOUIS, Protestant missionary, b. at Vevey, Switzerland, in 1812; d., a bachelor, at Grande Ligne (Saint-Jean County), Quebec, in November 1880.

Louis Roussy, of Huguenot descent, was educated in the Swiss school system, and then served a mason’s apprenticeship. At 19 he began religious work as a colporteur in France, and two years later, in Lausanne, entered a missionary seminary supported by the Independent Swiss Protestant churches. Here he became acquainted with Madame Henriette Odin* Feller, a prominent member of an independent Protestant group. In 1835 Madame Feller decided to join missionary friends in Montreal, Henri Olivier and his wife; Roussy volunteered to go with her. Proselytizing was next to impossible in Montreal because of the hostility shown to it, and Roussy went immediately to the country, where he was engaged to teach school in the parish of L’Acadie in a settlement called Grande Ligne [see Charles La Rocque].

After two months Roussy had to quit teaching because of objections to his preaching on Sundays. He apparently had some private means in addition to support from the Swiss church and perhaps local donations. Roussy’s evangelistic efforts were successful in winning a few converts, and Madame Feller joined him in 1836, to teach in a rented house. In this newly opened section of the province they taught both children and adults, using the Bible as their textbook. By midsummer of 1837, Roussy had organized his converts into the first independent French Protestant church in Canada. When the rebellion of 1837 broke out, the Patriotes identified the two missionaries with English Protestants and harassed them until they fled to Champlain, New York. Here Roussy met Dr Cyrille-Hector-Octave Côté*, a leader of the rebellion, whom he converted and who later became an able member of the mission.

When Roussy and Madame Feller returned to Grande Ligne after two months, they were welcomed by their flock and the people of the district. Their work became better known, and financial aid came from Switzerland and other parts of Canada and the United States. The first large mission building was opened for occupancy in August 1840.

Under the sponsorship, after 1845, of the Canadian Baptist Missionary Society, Louis Roussy remained until his death in 1880 the esteemed pastor of the Grande Ligne church and an occasional teacher in Feller College. As a colporteur he travelled on horseback distributing literature and Bibles; he held meetings and preached in houses or on street corners in many villages of southern Quebec and northern Vermont, meeting often with rebuffs. His main work was in his church, however, which grew to include 30 or more families. It is called today Roussy Memorial Church.

F. T. Rosser

Canadian Baptist Archives (Hamilton, Ont.), [A. de L. Therrien,] “Pastors of the past in G.L.M.” (handwritten ms). The Baptist encyclopædia . . . , ed. William Cathcart (Philadelphia, 1881). E. R. Fitch, Baptists of Canada; a history of their progress and achievement (Toronto, [1911]). Théodore Lafleur, A semi-centennial, historical sketch of the Grande Ligne Mission read at the jubilee gathering, Grande Ligne, Oct. 18th, 1885 (Montreal, [1886]). M. J. Milne, In the shadow of Mt. Royal: Madame Henrietta Feller (New York, [1958]). E. A. Therrien et al., Baptist work in French Canada (Toronto, n.d.). Théodore Lafleur, “Louis Roussy,” McMaster University Monthly (Toronto), III (1893–94), 49–58.

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Cite This Article

F. T. Rosser, “ROUSSY, LOUIS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed October 1, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/roussy_louis_10E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/roussy_louis_10E.html
Author of Article:   F. T. Rosser
Title of Article:   ROUSSY, LOUIS
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1972
Year of revision:   1972
Access Date:   October 1, 2023