Julia Stockton Dinsmore was born on March 6, 1833, to James and Martha Macomb Dinsmore, in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Her father was part-owner of a sugar cane and cotton plantation along Bayou Black. Julia was a child of nine when her family moved up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to their new home in the Belleview Bottoms section of Boone County.
Julia was the middle of three daughters. The youngest sister, Susan, died in a drowning accident. The oldest, Isabella, married a first cousin, and moved to Minnesota. She died shortly after the birth of their second child. Isabella's husband sent the children to the farm in Kentucky to be raised by their Aunt Julia. Several years later, Julia inherited the farm upon her father's death.
Well-educated and from a cultured and prosperous family, “Miss Julia” (as she was known) traveled the world and was a published poet. One of the county's most famous women, she successfully managed the large farm, and raised her two nieces on her own. The daughter of one of the girls, Isabella Greenway – no doubt inspired by her great-aunt's example – became Arizona's first congresswoman.