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Catherine was born in 1823, the daughter of Donald MacCusbic and Christina MacAskill of old Borve. Catherine married Evander Shaw, with whom she was to have five children. In 1850 the family moved to 18 Ruisgarry (Brusda), which her husband obtained in the relotting of Ruisgarry. Sometime after the birth of son Malcolm in 1856, the family emigrated to the Grand River area of Cape Breton.