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Alexander, known as Alic, was born in 1837, the son of Donald MacKillop and Marion MacLeod of old Ruisgarry then 5 Ruisgarry (Beasdaire). He became a fisherman and married Christina MacDonald in 1866, with whom he was to have eight children. For a short time after their marriage he also worked as a quarryman. They made their home at Quay, the house passing to them from Christina's parents. His wife died of consumption in 1883, and Alic remarried - to his cousin Catherine MacLeod. They were to have no children. In 1891 his elderly aunt, Ann MacLeod, was living with the couple.
At a time of unrest on Berneray, Alic and his cousin, Catherine's brother Donald MacLeod, became involved in the struggle to regain the use of the land taken for Borve Farm. In 1893 they helped to waylay the tacksman's boat, cutting down its sail. This came to be known as the Reef Incident. Alic, Donald and two other men were imprisoned at Inverness as punishment. They were not amongst those allocated a tenancy when Borve Farm was finally redivided into crofts in 1900.