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John (1847-1903) was the son of Roderick Mackay and Christina Macdonald; it is not known where the family were living at the time of his birth. His paternal grandparents were living at 16 Old North Tolsta and his maternal grandparents were living in Melbost, Borve.
In 1857 the family obtained 50 North Tolsta as a newly lotted croft.
John married Jessie Campbell, of 14 Back, and the couple settled as cottars at 14 Back. They had four children: Malcolm, Bellann, Roderick, and George.
In 1887 John was widowed.
John married Ann Martin, of 7 Back, and the couple settled at 14 Back. John gained a step daughter, Dolina, from the marriage.They had a daughter, Christina, in 1889.
In 1894 John's son George died.