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Mary, born about 1821, was the daughter of Norman MacAskill and Christina Campbell of Siabaidh, Berneray. Sometime after 1826 the family moved to Quidinish before emigrating to Cape Breton in 1831. They made their home in Englishtown, St Ann’s Bay. Her husband was named Duncan MacRitchie.
Mary was the older sister of Angus Mòr MacAskill, who became known as the strongest man in the world.