The Count DeBury Residence stands as a prime illustration of intricate Second Empire residential architecture, and is among the most distinguished homes in the City of Saint John. Suffering fire damage in 1905, the house’s interior was swiftly restored. Initially boasting 16 rooms, the residence features a characteristic Mansard roof, decorative bracketed cornices, and stone quoins adorning the front façade. Perched atop a hill, this building has remained a prominent landmark for over 125 years.
This home was built in 1875 for Count Robert Visart DeBury. Count Robert Visart DeBury was born in Bury, Belgium in 1848 where his family, part of the Belgian nobility, had possessed estates for five centuries.
Count DeBury graduated as a civil engineer at Wurttemberg School of Technology. In 1869, he married Miss Simonds of Saint John, daughter of H. G. Simonds, in Germany. The Count and Countess came to Saint John in 1873 and had this magnificent home built on Mr. Simonds’ land in 1875.
Count DeBury held positions as the Belgian Consul and French Vice Consul in Saint John. His family played a significant role in 16th-century Belgian wars, and in the mid-1700s, Colonel Francis Visart de Soleilleval was granted the title of Count by Empress Maria Theresa in acknowledgment of his wartime contributions. Count DeBury’s great-uncle, Field Marshal de Chasteler, defeated Napoleon’s army in 1809 and later became the Governor of Venice. Robert himself worked for the Orleans Railway Company and the Wurtemberg government, surveying the Black Forest Railway. He split his time between Saint John and his home in Bury. His son, Lieutenant Colonel Count H. R. Visart DeBury, earned recognition in “Prominent People in the Province of Quebec” by the Biographical Society of Canada for his distinguished military career. Their daughter gained acclaim as one of Saint John’s most talented painters. In 1897, one of Miss DeBury’s paintings was gifted to St. Peter’s Church and blessed by its clergy. Countess DeBury passed away in 1906, and Count Robert DeBury died in a private hospital in 1907. In honor of Count Robert Visart DeBury, Visart Street was named in Saint John’s north end.
This post has already been read 2467 times!