About the Kirkland Family

Today Ayr Mount stands as a monument to the efforts of William Kirkland (1768-1836), a Scottish man of limited means who emigrated to the Piedmont region of North Carolina in 1789. Kirkland left his home in Ayr, Scotland and came to America to work in the mercantile trade, a practice followed by many Scots during this time. By 1793 he had married and opened up his own store in Hillsborough. Over the years his mounting fortune and well-regarded character won him the acceptance of the area’s elite.

Kirkland built Ayr Mount in 1815 and it remained a home to Kirkland descendants until 1985. Kirkland solidified his ties to powerful figures in the state through the marriages of his sons and daughters. Despite the family’s importance in the state, little has been written about them due to sparse first-person citations.

It is gleaned from recorded documents and other historical accounts that William Kirkland was seen as a model of the successful merchant and respected planter in the area. His grand home in Hillsborough, situated beside both the Old Indian Trading Path and the Eno River, signified his wealth and good fortune. Ayr Mount to the Kirklands was a symbol of the family’s entrepreneurial success, glory and self-respect – aspirations and ideals that likewise reflected a burgeoning nation.

For more information on the Kirkland Family, see the genealogy chart.

Read more about the history of the Kirkland Family and Ayr Mount.