Blue-eyed Jessie McCulloch McCutcheon returned to her comfortable Blantyre home in June 1930, after being missing for 10 days.
The 16-year-old girl had been employed at an Ayrshire farm when she vanished, and her mother had made many anxious inquiries, though these proved fruitless. When the family was reunited, Jessie was once more happy by the side of her mother. A remarkable story of the Blantyre girl’s strange action was given by Mrs McCutcheon to reporters from their home at 50 Calder Street. “Jessie had left home in early Spring 1930 to go into service at East Halkett Farm, Lugton, Ayrshire,” said Mrs McCutcheon. “She was a favourite with everybody there, probably on account of her blue azure eyes and gentle ways.”
“After she had been there for several month, I received word from the farmer that my lassie had mysteriously disappeared. She left the farmhouse one night to post a letter to me, but had not returned. The farmer had made enquiries throughout the district but had seen no trace of her. I began to enquire with all my friends, but they had not heard from her. My husband works in Whitburn and i thought she may have sent word to him, but he was as amazed as me to hear of Jessie’s strange absence.
My son Hugh, who is 22 years of age decided to make a search of the neighbourhood to find if Jessie had visited friends. On his pedal cycle, he made a tour of all the surrounding villages in Lanarkshire and every likely avenue was explored but nobody had heard from my girl.”
Mrs McCutcheon continued, “Hugh was at last forced to give up his search, and wearily turned for home, which reached weary and bitterly disappointed that he had failed. Jessie had been a Salvation Army lassie, and had afterwards had spell with the Girl Guides. In both these organisations she had had an excellent character, everyone thinking very highly of her. Her thoughtfulness and quietness had appealed to those above her. This compelled me to think that she had done nothing wrong, but hod lost her memory and was wandering about the countryside. It amazed me, though, to think that one had noticed her and called the attention of the police.
At nights I could not sleep for thinking about Jessie. I wanted to think that she would be well, but the thought was at the forefront of my mind that she was pained with hunger and did not know where to seek aid. Meantime, the police were scouring the countryside but Jessie could not be found.
After many days of mental agony I received a message from a friend in Paisley that Jessie had been found in that town. Tired, I at once set off with my eldest eldest to Paisley, in the hope of returning with her. I will never forget the joy of that reunion and after recovering a little, she started to tell of her adventure.
She had been getting rather well at the farm. where everyone had been good her, and she had led the life that appealed to her quiet nature. One evening, the day of her strange disappearance, she left the farmhouse to post letter to me containing her month’s wages. When nearing the plllar-hox she was surprised to see two of her girlfriends approaching. The three had a talk together, and Jessie explained about the good time she had been having at the farm. My girl walked down the road with her friends, who reside in Paisley, and suddenly her mind became a complete blank!
Something queer in her actions attracted the attention of her friends, who, realising her plight and not knowing what else to do, took her to their home and kept her there. For several days my daughter remained there with her memory slowly returning, but, still far from normal and in that condition, the thought that I would lie worrying about her naturally never occurred to her. When she eventually came home, she was greatly surprised to learn of my terrible anxiety, and was sincerely sorry she had given me any cause to worry. I am going to keep my daughter home for time so that will recover from the strain.”
Do you know what became of Calder Street’s Jessie McCutcheon who would have been born in 1915? We now know today that sudden memory loss can be caused by a head injury or even a small stroke.
** Update: Marie Mariah McCutcheon (no relation) gave me a little more information. Jessie McCulloch McCutcheon was born on 13th September 1913 at 16 Springwell Terrace, Low Blantyre. Her parents had married 10 years earlier in Hamilton. She married Thomas Craig on 18th April 1934. He was 2nd lieutenant in Royal Air Force but things did not last when he divorced her on 12 June 1942 during WW2. He was a Sergeant by then in the Royal Air Force. Jessie was living in Glasgow , away from Blantyre by that time.