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John (born 1838) was a son of John Matheson and Catherine Mackay, Reef. By 1841, the family appears to have split up, possibly due to the premature death of their mother - John and his sister Ann are enumerated in Crowlista with a Christina Macdonald born c1771 and his brother Angus is living with his grandmother in Brenish.
According to Bill Lawson's Croft History John and his siblings relocated to 4 Brenish with their father when he obtained tenancy of the croft from his sister-in-law, Ann.
John married Margaret Macdonald, 5 Brenish and they lived there as cottars. They had three children.