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Donald MacKillop was born in about 1838, the son of John MacKillop and Margaret Munro. Born in old Ruisgarry, he moved to 6 Ruisgarry (Beasdaire) which was allotted to his father in 1850.
In 1870 he married Margaret MacKillop and they made their home at her house in Baile. Together they were to have five children. Donald worked as a labourer and fisherman, and both he and his wife supplemented the family income by weaving. He was also a tailor. The story of a visit from his neighbour, bard Malcolm MacAskill, is recounted in the book Orain Chaluim:
He discovered the tailor spreadeagled on the floor, suffering the tortures of a slipped disc. The kindly housewife, in desperation, was doing her utmost to cure him in the old Highland style. At this dramatic moment, the bard uttered the following impromptu verse -
Maighread nighean Dhòmhnaill 'ic Phàice
Bocadaigh air druim an Tàilleir,
'S math leam fhéin bhith fuireach làmh rith'
Chionn 's gu slànaich i leum-droma.
They lived at Baile until 1900, when the islanders regained the use of Borve and Donald obtained croft 12.