In the Lowell Cemetery is a witch and a lion. No, there isn’t a tin man, nor is there a wardrobe involved. There are myths and medicine men, however.
In a previous post I mentioned “Witch Bonney” looking toward a “protector” believed to be this beautiful carved lion figure. The information and facts on the real person resting here is just as interesting as Bonney’s. (At least I think so)
James Cook Ayer was a successful patent medicine tycoon. The town of Ayer Ma was supposedly named after him, but I couldn’t check the source of that. It is most likely him or earlier relations since his family was very prominent in Ma with connections to Harvard, the Lowell & Andover R. R., and did present the Memorial Library to the town of Ayer. His brother Frederick, a wealthy textile industrialist, owned multiple mills in Lowell and Lawrence and was the president of the American Woolen Company. Frederick Ayer’s daughter married George S Patton (Yes, THAT Patton).
Moving to Lowell he studied medicine and apprenticed under a local druggist. Eventually he earned a degree in medicine. His interest in medicine was not to become a doctor but in pharmaceutical chemistry and medicine compounding. Many of J.C. Ayer’s medicines were common household items purchased from travelling salesmen. Among these were Ayer’s Sasparilla Tonic and Ayer’s Cathartic Pills. Images and more information can be found HERE. His success was due in part to his wide advertisement, some of which was through his own published popular free almanac “for the use of farmers, planters, mechanics, mariners and all families” starting in 1853. If you visit Lowell and find yourself traveling down Middle St, you can still see the building where J.C. Ayer’s Lab was.
The story of this man is inspirational as he seemed to work hard, always better himself (such as devoting hours a day to learning different languages such as portugese) and I barely scratch the surface of this man. I encourage you to read History of Lowell and Its People by Frederick William Coburn which is where I got the image of him above.
I haven’t found the reason his grave is marked by this magestic animal, but he does look rather “lion like” in his picture, don’t you think? His grave is one of my favorites in that cemetery.