Born to Captain Thomas F. Kinney and Mary Elizabeth Houghton in Hall's Harbor, Nova Scotia, Julia moved to Yarmouth, Massachusetts at the age of 4 and a year later to Boston. In 1868 Mrs. Kinney and Julia went to San Francisco, travelling by ship to Panama, by train to the Pacific Ocean, and by ship to San Francisco. They then sailed on the bark "Onward" to Utsalady on Camano Island, Washington to Join Captain Kinney. From there the family went by dory to Coupeville where he had built their home.
Julia attended schools in Coupeville and studied for one term at the University of Washington. She began teaching school at the age of 16 and became Superintendent of Schools for Island County.
On March 3, 1866 she married Ernest J. Hancock. Their children were Eugene Ammon Hancock, Julius Lee Hancock, Virgil Kinney Hancock and Vera Houghton (Hancock) Dean.
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