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William Macphail was born 1886 to 19 Gravir; he married Margaret Ann Macarthur, 3 Cromore.
William was a prolific poet and songwriter, often commenting on the characters and way of life in his home village in his young days. Among his surviving works are Reflections at the Old Churchyard, St. Colm's Isle, 1935 and a Gaelic satire Faire, Faire Mhic Catriona. He also wrote stories about Gravir, including the Dominie's Dilemma.
His cousin Mac Catriona features in the latter two pieces.
His daughter Ishbel, published a booklet of her father's songs, poems, articles and Gaelic translations, with a few exceptions, which appeared in the columns of the Stornoway Gazette through the years under the pen name "Clach Oich".