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Marion MacKay was born in 1864, the daughter of schoolteacher and registrar Donald MacKay and Marion Paterson of Rubha Mor and later Baile. She was a regular visitor to the MacGillivray/Paterson household at 8 Ruisgarry (Baile) and by 1881 was employed there as a domestic servant by Captain Archibald Paterson.
In 1890 she married his nephew Allan Paterson, with whom she was to have seven children. They lived as cottars on 8 Ruisgarry (Baile). Her husband obtained 14 Borve in 1900, but Marion was to die giving birth to twins later that year.