From: "Montreal History and Gazeteer to the year 1892"
By Rev. J. Douglas Borthwick, John Lovell & Son, Montreal 1892
|The subject of this sketch is one of the oldest merchants in Montreal.
He was born at Wombwell, Yorkshire, England, near the beginning of this
century, in 1807. His father was Richard Birks,
civil engineer, and his two brothers, Edward Birks
and Thomas Birks, followed their father's
profession. Richard was educated at Brampton Grammar School.
He then studied Pharmacy under the well-known Dr. Hudson in London, England.
After some years he went to the West Indies, to Jamaica, and remained their
until 1832, when, on the liberation of the slaves, and abolition of slavery
throughout the British Colonies, He returned to England. He came
to Canada in 1844, and settled in Montreal. He is now sixty-five
years in the drug business, and, though over eighty years of age, is still
active and strong, walking a mile or more every moniing from his home to
the store on McGill street, and such are his perfect faculties that he
can yet, without the aid of glasses, write very small texts on the prescriptions
which are prepared in his establishment.
The ancestors of the subject of this sketch have lived in Wombwell for over eight hundred years, in the one homestead for over four hundred years, and they have been the agents of Sir George Wombwell of Wombwell Hall for the past three hundred years, and at the close of this century the old homestead is still in the family.
Mr. Birks married Mary Morris in 1848,
and has two sons and two daughters. His oldest son,
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