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Margaret was born in 1836, the youngest child of Donald MacKillop and Catherine Morrison of old Borve. However, in the early 1850s, the tenants were cleared from Borve, and Margaret's family was removed to the northern part of Berneray, to Quay, then on to Baile. Margaret was passed the house at Baile following her father's death in 1867. In 1870 she married Donald MacKillop with whom she was to have five children. Donald worked as a labourer and fisherman, and they both supplemented the family income by weaving. Obviously Donald also did some tailoring, because a visit from their neighbour, bard Malcolm MacAskill, is recounted in the book Orain Chaluim:
He discovered the tailor spreadeagled on the floor, suffering the tortures of a slipped disc. The kindly housewife, in desperation, was doing her utmost to cure him in the old Highland style. At this dramatic moment, the bard uttered the following impromptu verse -Maighread nighean Dhòmhnaill 'ic Phàice Bocadaigh air druim an Tàilleir, 'S math leam fhéin bhith fuireach làmh rith' Chionn 's gu slànaich i leum-droma.
The family lived at Baile until 1900, when the islanders regained the use of Borve and Donald obtained croft 12.