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Johnnie Paterson was born in 1871, the son of Norman Paterson and Margaret MacLeod of Rubha Mor, and later cottars on 8 Ruisgarry (Baile). He became a fisherman, then yachtsman and Captain of the Earl of Dunmore's yacht the Golden Eagle.
Following the death of his brother Allan in 1902, their father Norman took over Allan's croft, 14 Borve. Johnnie stayed there too, when not at sea, together with his sister Jessie Mary, who was caring for brother Allan's orphaned children.
Johnnie married Fanny MacKinnon in Flodabay in 1913. They had a son Allan who settled in Inverness.