Mrs. Julia A. Kirk was born in Sangamon county, Ill., nine miles north of Springfield, September 19, 1834, and was eleven years old when she accompanied her parents across the plains. She was united in mariage with William Riley Kirk, who was born in Tennessee. His father, Alexander Kirk, had removed from Tennessee, also the state of his birth, when William Riley was but two years of age, locating first in Missouri, and following this up with a trip to Oregon in 1846. The first year of his residence in Oregon was spent in Yamhill county, the next year finding him on a donation claim near Brownsville, Linn county, the land now occupied by the southern part of the city having once been a part of his claim. His death occurred in Umatilla county, Ore., after a very successful life spent in the state of his adoption. Upon attaining manhood William Riley Kirk took up a donation claim one and a half miles east of Brownsville, where he engaged in farming until 1870, when he located in the city and became interested in general merchandise. Later he purchased a large interest in the Brownsville Woolen mills, which he served as president for many years. During the financial panic of 1893 his business suffered heavily, the total loss of his fortune being averted only by his masterly efforts to weather the storm. From that year his health gradually declined and he died September 24, 1901.
Of the six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Kirk, Andrew J. and Nathan are engaged in farming near Brownsville; Sarah Jane makes her home with her mother; A. Lincoln lives in Brownsville; America is now the wife of D.M. Cushman, a farmer in the vicinity, and Alexander is a resident of Brownsville. Mr. Kirk was a Republican in politics, and was associated fraternally with the Odd Fellows. Both himself and wife were members of the Methodist Church.
"Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley", page 1417