He was born in Belœil, Quebec, the son of Jean-Baptiste Dufresne and Ursule Poirier. Dufresne established himself as a merchant at Christieville (later Iberville). He helped establish the Franco-Canadien in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. In 1843, he married Élizabeth Favelin. Dufresne was mayor of Iberville from 1858 to 1860, from 1873 to 1874 and from 1875 to 1877. Around 1864, he helped establish a branch of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society in the region. Dufresne ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Canadian House of Commons and the Quebec assembly in 1867.