James McCudden & Jeanie Smith

Reader, Annette Follen writes, “Both my sets of grandparents came from Blantyre. My maternal grandparents were James McCudden 5/12/1888 – 15/4/1939 and Jeanie Smith 2/3/1894-19/12/1972. Married 27/4/1917. Paternal grandparents James Dawson 16/2/1878 and Agnes Mason Fisher 30/5/1882 – 4/2/1965. Married 13/7/1906. Any information you can get for me is appreciated. Annette”

Let’s start in this post with Annette’s grandparents on her mother’s side. When James McCudden was born on 5 December 1888 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, his father, Joseph McCudden (1859-1922), was 29 and his mother, Elizabeth Ferns (1864-1943), was 24.

His brother Thomas Ferns was born on 20 February 1891 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when James was 2 years old. In 1891, the family lived in Young’s Land, Blantyre, the house already had parents with 4 children.

His brother Joseph was born on 8 June 1893 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when James was 4 years old. His sister Margaret McSorley McCudden was born on Boxing Day, 26 December 1895 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when James was 7 years old. However tragedy struck the family when little Margaret died on 7th January 1897 just 2 years later.

Another sister Elizabeth was born on 12 November 1897 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when James was 8 years old. And another Ellen Ferns McCudden born on 14 November 1900 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when James was 11 years old. His brother Charles Ferns McCudden was born on 7 September 1903 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when James was 14 years old. He had a large family of siblings!

The family lived in Maxwell’s Buildings, Blantyre in 1901 and by this time there were 7 children! This was around the top of Broompark Road .The children may have been schooled at Auchentibber.

On 27th April 1917, James McCudden married his sweetheart Jeanie Smith (b1894) at St Joseph’s Church on Glasgow Road. James was 28 years old. His bride was heavily pregnant upon their wedding day for son, Joseph was born on 9th June 1917, 2 months later. He may have married whilst back on leave from active service as it is known he was off fighting in war in 1918. He was part of the Highland Light Infantry.

The family lived at 113 Main Street, High Blantyre following WW1 years, with James employed as a coalminer. James and Jeanie had a son in 1918 named John. Then, after his demob, a daughter arrived in 1919. Tragically, little John died aged 2. One can only imagine the horrors James saw in WW1, and losing a child so soon after must have been truly terrible and heartbreaking.

A daughter Elizabeth Ferns McCudden arrived in 1921. His father Joseph passed away on 14 March 1922 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, at the age of 63. His daughter Jeanie Smith was born on 20 November 1923 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire.

James McCudden died on 15 April 1939 in High Blantyre, Lanarkshire, when he was 50 years old. Death caused by Sudden Cardiac Failure. He is buried in High Blantyre Cemetery. I found a photo of James and wife Jeanie, taken at Park Crescent, High Blantyre. By the new houses in the background and knowing the year of his death, i’d say the photo was taken in the mid 1930’s.

1920s James McCudden & Jeanie Smith

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

James Richardson Joe McCudden was a baker I think and he went to Australia in the fifties
Gerry Walker There were Mc Cuddens who lived in Devondale Ave in the 60`s and 70`s when I lived in Craigton Place. I remember a son called Tam.
Marion Jones The name ferns runs in my family.. my granddad name was Charles ,my mums name was Elizabeth ,wonder if there is any connections there
Helen Henderson Mclaughlin Marion Jones Jim’s family were also ferns lol


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  1. Joe had the Ace Bakery in Burnbank. My Great Gran was Jeanie, her daughter Margaret lived in the house until she died. The house is still in the family. Jeanie was related to the Smiths who lived at the Niaroo.

    1. Hi Stephen my name is James (Jim) Dawson son of Jeanie (née McCudden) Dawson, l live in Adelaide/Australia your Dad and Bill Wilson visited and stayed with us in the 70s, would love to catch up

    2. Big Joe was my cousin(as opposed to Wee Joe (also known as Burma Joe) My name is Archie Anderson, son of Archie Senior who was secretary of Blantyre Vics until leaving to become manager of Arbroath F.C

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