The career of Jean Jacques is remarkable. His religious zeal was more than matched by his business acumen. His father died when he was about a year and six months old. He had no schooling, and remained illiterate all his life, yet the land transactions in his name, all properly drawn up, witnessed and "signed" with his "X" far outnumber those of any other man in the settlement and make up a large part of Book#2 of the Land Records, kept at Bridgewater. He also ran a lumber mill and a grist mill, farmed, and engaged in shipbuilding.
He made several moves, the final one being to the homestead at Middle River, just beyond Chester. In 1791 tax records his address is given as "The Islands" and he paid 5 sh. tax (the highest). At his death he owned property on Oak Island, Gooseberry Island, and Mark Island, as well as 20 other lots varying from 4A to 500A, several of the 4A lots being in Chester.
He made a good marriage. His wife was the daughter of Jacob Loy, a German- speaking Swiss. In his early business Jean Jacques was associated with her brother Alexander. None of J.J.'s eleven sons equalled his achievement.
His descent was French, and probably his mother tongue was also French. But Pattersons says (PANS, MG1, 743): "The inhabitants of Montbeliard were ethnologically more German than French, having been annexed by the latter only a little over half a century before their emigration. (This refers to the Montbeliard families in general, not specifically to Bezanson). They spoke a corrupt dialect of French, with a German intonation. From their sufferings which they had endured for their religion after their annexation to France, they had a strong antipathy to the French and Romanists, which has continued among their descendants to this day. In fact, they do not wish to be called French, but speak of themselves as Swiss." But Bezansons, through many generations, insisted on their French heritage. It is certain that Jean Jacques spoke German and English as well.
He and Anna Mary Loy were married in the Dutch Reformed Church at Lunenburg (afterwards the Presbyterian --MG4, 86). The clergyman was Bruin Romkies Comingo, who preached and kept records in German. For the Germans in his congreations (e.g. Eisenhauers) this meant a proper spelling of their name. But it is probably from Comingo's records that the name Besancon began to be spelled with a 'z'. However, the land records indicate that Jean Jacques did indeed have papers, for the land transactions all give the spelling Besancon. 1792 Land Petition, unused (i.e. not granted): "Besancon, John Jacque...lately moved to Chester with his family, wife & 8 children, built a Grist Mill on Middle River...at his own expense...and has also purchased a Saw mill and has been at considerable expense in repairing of it..adjacent to said mill there is a tract of land (formerly surveyed to one Griffin) which tract he always understood was intended for such persons who might erect Saw and Grist Mills...but since his arrival in Halifax has been informed it is reserved by your Excellency for His Majesty's use tho' of material benefit to him and his poor family." Recommended by J.W. Schwartz, Halifax, 30 Dec., 1792. Wentworth refused saying it was required for His Majesty's use. Evidently, from the baptismal records, the first five children of Jean Jacques and Mary were born at Lunenburg, the next four probably on The Islands - or at least some distance from Lunenburg, because of the time that elapsed between birth and baptism. The last four were born at Middle River and are recorded in the Chester Township Records. Jean Jacques made his Will before his youngest son was born, which may explain why, on his sudden death in 1806, he was declared intestate. Later Bezansons carried on the shipbuilding business in Chester.