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Alexander Maclean was the son of John Maclean; it is not known where the family were living at the time of his birth.
Alexander is listed as working on the Tolsta road in 1791 and was living in Old South Tolsta Tack during that time. He worked with three other men: Kenneth Macleod, who later obtained 28 Old South Tolsta, Gillespie Macaskill and John Macleod.
By 1820 Alexander's name is found on the Old South Tolsta Tack subtenants list.
Alexander married Isabella Murray and the couple raised John Maclean: the son of his sister, Christina Maclean. The two couples were very close, as not only did Christina married Isabella's brother, but the two couples got married on the same day.
Alexander and Isabella had at least child of their own, and lived in Old South Tolsta Tack.
During the 1830 croft lottings, the family became cottars in Old South Tolsta.
They left Tolsta for Ness, sometime after 1832; John accompanied them to Ness, where he was known as 'ain Tholastaidh and An Dìlleachdan (the orphan).
Alexander Maclean returned to Tolsta twice to visit his brother-in-law Kenneth's family; unfortunately Kenneth had died before these visits. Some of his family accompanied him and his grandchildren were christened in Tolsta. Alexander stayed with Kenneth’s widow Margaret and her sister Henrietta. He gave them a present of a precious stone during the first visit and the sisters later sold it to a pedlar for 10 shillings. On his second visit, Alexander was none too pleased when he heard this: as he told them the stone was worth a lot more.