Duval Built the Church

Edmund Hillyer Duval was born 1805. He was the third child born to Peter Duval and Elizabeth Wood of London, England. Edmund was a teacher for most of his life. Between 1835 and 1845 he was in charge of a large school district at Bristol, England, sponsored by the British Bible Society. In 1845 he received an invitation to come to Saint John, New Brunswick.

Here he established a “British School” which was used for many years as a model school for training of teachers. He acted as an inspector of schools after 1858 he began constantly stressing the need for better salaries for teachers and championed other reforms in the school system.

After his arrival in New Brunswick Edmund also manifested a deep interest in the temporal and spiritual prosperity of the negroes at Willow Grove. He decided that he would build a church here for these negroes. The church was a small building about 30′ x 40′, costing about $1,500.00. The church was opened on May 24, 1878. A log house, built on land deeded to the Baptist denomination, had occupied the site 30 years earlier and it was used for religious services and a day school.

Edmund was aware that the small population of people would not be able to contribute to the costs of building the church so he called upon friends from England who were acquainted with the circumstances of the original settlers and they responded well to his request.

Edmund frequently preached in the little Church at Willow Grove, and when he died, on Tuesday night, on September 17, 1878 he was buried in the church yard at his own request. A tablet was placed on the walls of the church to honor him, but the church tablet was destroyed by the fire in 1941.

Edmund Hillyer Duval and Family

Completed Willow Grove Baptist Church 1875-1878

Church Burned to the Ground 1936