John was a builder, in Larchmont, NY, USA. Jessie was a bank clerk. We visited her in USA several times. She now lives at The Osborne Memorial Home, 501, Theodore Freund Avenue, Rye, New York, NY 10580. Very Hospitable. Very Proper!
Jessie Macdonald was born in Aberdeen on 21st January 1895, her father being Alexander Macdonald of Delney, Ross-shire. I think he may have been a carpenter, but I am not sure.
Some of Jessie's history is included in her biographical contributions to this series. Margaret Mackay, the Good Samaritan, Margaret "Crupach" was present at her birth. Jessie left school at age 12 when she and her mother left for U.S.A., via some jobs in Canada. Jessie than had some jobs in U.S.A. around New Jersey, before they both settled near New Rochelle, N.Y. Then she became a member of the staff of the Larchmont Branch of the National Bank, first as a book-keeper, then in charge of loans and securities, for some 23 years until she married Mr. John Petterson in 1936. He was a carpenter-joiner whose parents had come from Greenock, Scotland. I think he had been a devoted son to his parents and had put off marriage on their account. Equally, I think Jessie had postponed marriage to look after her mother, my Aunt Sarah. I have the impression that Sarah who had herself preferred marriage to looking after her own parents indefinitely had in her old age expected Jessie to look after her rather than marry.
Jessie's husband was ill more or less for the last ten years of his life, so she had rather a thin time. He was a man of high repute in his trade, and for many years was the Firemaster of Larchmont, an honorary post for which we have no equivalent in England. He was also "high up in the Masons".
Jessie continued the family tradition of ecclesiastical non-conformity by regular attendance at the local Congregational church. I think in herself she questions quite a bit the doctrinal aspect of membership, but not overtly. She dislikes the fact that the minister is most interested in her when he wants money! Who doesn't?
I remember Jessie and her mother calling at our house in 1907, just before sailing for Canada. I was 11 and Jessie 12. One of us sat on a high piano stool, staring at the other, neither saying a word. I did not appreciate the relationship, for my father rarely explained these things, probably taking them for granted. I have no recollection of how she looked then. I had not matured! Years later, in 1956, I met her bus unloading at Wolverhampton, and walked straight up to her, neither of us with any hesitation as if we had known each other all our lives. Some curious alchemy! What had we in common?
She came here a second time in May 1960, meeting her older cousin Alec Macdonald, the retired headmaster. We paid a sentimental tribute to past generations by having Alec read from the old Bible (John Murray's) in his quite rich pleasant Scotch accent. From its condition I doubt greatly whether the Mackay owners of it had read much from it. It appears to have been used chiefly as a register of births and deaths. Why not marriage too? Maybe Old William could not keep track of them all, or he was getting tired a bit. But in fact most of the entries are in the handwriting of Old William's older brother Andrew.
We had a few pleasant days in Boston with Jessie when she appeared for the marriage of Murray and Judith Tattersfield, in October, 1963. She entertained us in Larchmont twice, once in 1961, and once in January 1966. Then in the summer of 1966 she came once more to Wolverhampton, "on a last visit". We went to Sutherland, and while she stayed with Kate Mackenzie at Achuan for 5 days, at a daytime temperature of 45 degrees, in high summer, Margaret and I went on towards Lochinver and looked at Suilven. Alas, I did not get to the top because of mist!
She wrote to me lately saying "I can still plainly see your father, George, visiting us twice a year at Aberdeen, when he came there on business. I always set the table, and somehow I got complimented by him, and I always got 10/- or some other gift when he left.
Her visits to U.K. were in 1920, 1956, 1960 and 1966.
Our younger and then somewhat impecunious son also remembers vividly the contents of Jessie's refrigerator when he stayed at her house during a visit to New York. She seems to have entertained the representatives of other branches of the family in the same way over the years.