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Donald MacKinnon was born in about 1805, the son of Kenneth MacKinnon and Catherine MacLennan of old Ruisgarry. Donald became a farmer and married Ann MacKillop, also of old Ruisgarry, which is where they made their home.
On the re-organisation of the Ruisgarry crofts in 1850, Donald and his wife became cottars on 2 Ruisgarry (Sandhill), where Donald made his living from fishing, and later at Quay and Rubha Mor. They had no children of their own. However, Ann's nephew and niece Angus and Janet Paterson stayed with them following their mother's death in 1848.
Donald's wife died in 1878, and in 1881 he was staying at 5 Cluer with his niece Margaret.