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The Sabina Broadhead and Thomas Birks House
18 Taylor Street

Sabina Broadhead and Thomas Birks House

In 1871, the year that Front Street was opened, John Broadhead and Matthew Venton purchased from Hiram Millen half of Lot 287 overlooking Brewery Creek. Venton died the following year, and his widow, Sabina, became the owner of this house, which was built next to that of her father, John W. Broadhead, probably before 1876. Sabina was born in England on January 19, 1848, and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1858; the Ventons were from Ontario.

On September 18, 1884, in her father's house, Sabina Broadhead married her second husband, Thomas Heath Birks, a resident of Hull. Birks was born in England on October 3, 1832, and immigrated to Canada in 1857. Sabina was fairly well off: she owned a house and, besides the furniture and other domestic effects, an organ worth $150. As the house and its outbuildings were valued at $600, it is understandable that they were registered as her property in the marriage contract, signed by the couple on August 11, 1884. Birks would play an important role in the Broadhead family. From the first year of the marriage, he saw to the legal division of the family property between Sabina and her father. It was he who made the official declaration of the death of John W. Broadhead, on December 12, 1898. Birks founded Hull Iron and Steel in 1913, and became president of the company as well as its treasurer-bookkeeper. Through his influence, members of the Broadhead family found seats on the company's board of directors.

Birks was agent and bookkeeper for the heirs of Philemon Wright, the Wright-Scott family, who lived in the beautiful residence at 28 Taché Boulevard. Few of this family's many transactions do not contain Birks' name. He died at home on February 13, 1917, at the age of 84.

Sabina survived him until April 9, 1925. Having no children, she left her property to her sister, Violet Broadhead, who bequeathed hers in turn to her brother Elisha Franklin in 1941.

The Broadhead family left the house in 1950 when it was sold to William J. Latimer. He died there in 1963, and bequeathed it to his wife, Rebecca McLean. She remained the owner until 1972, when it was purchased by Ruth Ranken Latimer. The National Capital Commission bought the house in 1975 and sold it in 1987 to the Association du patrimoine du ruisseau de la Brasserie (Brewery Creek Heritage Society), an organization involved in the preservation of the entire heritage district. The following year, historian Arnold E. Ross bought the house and lived there until 1999.