John James, better known as "J.J." MacKinnon was born in Lewis Bay West, a small community west of Grand Mira. His parents were Sarah/Catherine Gillis and Captain Angus MacKinnon. J.J. had many talents. He was a Gaelic playwright, singer, fiddler and traditional self-taught bagpiper. His younger sister Margaret was married to the famed French Road piper Joe Hughie MacIntyre and their son, Danny would himself go on to become a well-respected piper. J.J himself married Mary Ann MacInnis of Catlebay
Greatly involved with the St. Kentigern Branch of the Scottish Catholic Society of Canada, J.J. joined the Society after moving to Sydney and was employed as auditor of with the Co-operative. He quickly took up the position of secretary within the society, a role which he held for many years. He authored a play "Mar a Fhuair Seumas Eachainn Bean" (GPLAY45), signing the work with his patronymic, "Iain mac Aonghuis 'ic Iain 'ic Sheumais 'ic Lachlainn 'ic Aonghuis Ruaidh".
MacKinnon taught piping at the Gaelic College during the 1940s and remained active in Gaelic societies until his death in the 70s. He can be heard singing at T-0354.