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John Morrison was born in 1833, the second son of that name born to Donald Morrison and Marion Shaw of Tarabhig in Ruisgarry. The ruins of their home are still visible, now known as Tobhta Mòr ni' Chaluim. His older brother John was seven years his senior.
Following the early death of his father the family continued to live at Tarabhig before 14 Ruisgarry (Trealigarry) was passed to his mother in 1854. The family crofted there until 1864 when they moved to 17 Ruisgarry (Brusda) instead.
John married Effie Munro in 1866 and they became cottars on his mother's croft. Effie and John's fathers were good friends, who had guarded the shipwrecked Sir William Wallace together in 1834, following which Effie's father had died of exposure.
As well as working the croft, John was a fisherman. He and Effie had four children together. Following John's death the house was passed to son Donald.