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Jessie MacGillivray was born in 1834, the daughter of farmer Roderick MacGillivray and schoolteacher Mary MacAskill. Her mother obtained 8 Ruisgarry (Baile), in the 1850 relotting. In 1861 one of the lodgers with the household was ship's master Archibald Paterson, whom Jessie subsequently married.
On her mother's death in 1872, Archibald was passed the croft, and it was passed onto Jessie on his death. They had no children of their own, but Jessie brought up her cousins Barbara and Jessie MacKenzie. The two girls were first registered with the household in 1871.
Jessie continued her mother's tradition of taking lodgers, which by 1891 included Berneray's Doctor Hotham George Christian. Cousin Jessie acted as servant, then housekeeper, before eventually inheriting the croft herself.