Jessie McLachlan

(1835 – 1889)

In the beginning, Jessie was known as Janet McIntosh, born in Inverness to William McIntosh (Sawyer) and Ann Kennedy. In the 1841 census when Jessie was all but six she is recorded as living with her father and mother at Shore Street with her five siblings. Jessie’s eldest sibling Mary McIntosh had already moved out from the family home.

Within the 1851 census, unfortunately, Ann, Jessie’s mother is not listed and her Father William is recorded as being a flesher. William, Jessie, and Jessie’s younger brother John are all living at 51 Upper Kessock Street. At this point, Jessie is sixteen and working as a house servant. According to newspaper reports after Jessie’s mother passed away she was the eldest girl left at home but did attend the school at Merkinch for several years.

Jessie’s first position within service was at a public house in Nairn after which she returned to Inverness to take a position as servant within her sister Mary’s public house ‘at the shore’. After a year working for Mary, young Jessie was seventeen and decided she would leave her position. From Inverness to Helensburgh on the West Coast of Scotland Jessie travelled 150 Miles to her new position at Rock Bank house, home of the honourable Robert Walker where she would be employed as nurse maid. It is believed Jessie carried a certificate of good character with her, signed by Clergymen and many respectable parties.

After eighteen months at Rock Bank House Jessie decided that it was time for a change. Taking a new position as House Maid within Rock Forth House, home of the Provost Walker and a relation of her previous employer. Jessie remained at the house of Provost Walker for six months before taking leave of Helensburgh for the City of Glasgow.

Upon arriving in Glasgow in approximately the year of 1854 Jessie took a position in the home of A.B Glen as Nurse-Maid. The address was 3 Hamilton Crescent, Partick. After six months with the Glen family Jessie moved on to her next place of employment with Alex King, Esq, M.D, 37 Bath Street, Anderston as a Table Maid. Jessie only stayed as Table Maid with the King family for three or four months before her next position working for John Fleming at 17 Sandyford Place as House Maid to the Fleming family. Jessie remained in this position until the day of her Wedding to James McLachlan a Seaman of Greenock. Their wedding took place on the 29th of September 1858 in Bath Street and according to the terms of the Free Church of Scotland. On the day of her wedding Jessie listed her residence as being Green Bank Cottage, Greenock.

Mr and Mrs McLachlan started out their life at 217 Elliot Street where they welcomed their son, James into the world at 3am in the morning of the 16th of June 1859. It is around this time that Jessie became ill. At one point between the years of 1859 and 1861 Jessie was confined to her bed, on Doctors’ orders for four months, and again for nearly six weeks. Jessie’s sister Ann McIntosh made a statement within which she spoke of Jessie’s ill health, her struggles with doctors fees, and the fact her sister had to pay women to come and take charge of her house, wash the family’s clothing, and take charge of her young son. On moving from Elliot Street, Jessie and James took up residence in Stobcross Street, during their time here Jessie was confined to bed for a stretch of five weeks. In the May of 1861, the McLachlan family moved from Stobcross Street to their new address of 182 Broomielaw, Jessie is said to have been carried the entire way.

It is at this address of 182 Broomielaw that the story of the Sandyford murder begins. Jessie McLachlan had remained friendly with Jessie McPherson from their time working together at 17 Sandyford Place. Jessie McPherson at one point attempted to open a grocery business in Grey-Street, some papers suggest that Jessie McLachlan did loan Jessie McPherson money when her grocery failed. The ladies were close personal friends, enough so that Jessie McPherson did tend to Jessie McLachlan during the birth of her son.

On the night of the 4th of July the ladies had agreed to meet, they tended to meet on a Friday as that is when Jessie McPherson had the most time. McPherson it is suggested was hopeful that the ‘ole deil’ would not be a bother and allow them to be alone. Jessie McLachlan had gathered a little black basket, she picked up her lodger Mrs Campbell’s bottle and had it filled with a gill and a half of rum at Montieths shop in Argyll Street, McLachlan also picked up some biscuits for them both, she then walked up North Street to the house at Sandyford.

17 Sandyford Place