Posts Tagged ‘Lowell Cemetery’

Today I was roaming cemeteries in Lowell, Ma yet again. Of course, one can’t  roam Lowell cemeteries without going to THE Lowell Cemetery. On top of that, on can’t go to the Lowell Cemetery without (more…)


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Ayer Lion


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.

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The following information on the politicians was copied from The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress and the National Govenor’s Association

Politicians buried in the Lowell Cemetery:

  • Frederic Thomas Greenhalge (1842-1896) — also known as Frederic T. Greenhalge — a Representative from Massachusetts; born in Clitheroe, England, July 19, 1842; immigrated with his parents to the United States in early childhood; attended the public schools of Lowell, Mass., and Harvard University 1859-1862; taught school and studied law; during the Civil War was with the Union Army in New Bern, N.C., for five months; was admitted to the bar in Lowell, Mass., in 1865; served in the common council of Lowell in 1868 and 1869; member of the school committee 1871-1873; mayor of Lowell in 1880 and 1881; unsuccessful candidate for election to the State senate in 1881; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1884; member of the State house of representatives in 1885; unsuccessful candidate for reelection; city solicitor in 1888; practiced law in Middlesex and other counties; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-first Congress (March 4, 1889-March 3, 1891); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1890 to the Fifty-second Congress; elected Governor of Massachusetts and served from January 1894 until his death in Lowell, Mass., on March 5, 1896; interment in Lowell Cemetery.
  • Thomas Talbot (1818-1886) —thirtieth and thirty-third governor to serve Massachusetts, was born in Cambridge, New York on September 7, 1818. After the death of his father, his family moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, where young Talbot was educated in the public schools. For a while he worked in a textile factory, and eventually opened a successful broadcloth factory with his brother. Talbot first entered politics in 1861, serving as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a position he held three years. He also served as a member of the Governor’s Executive Council from 1864 to 1869, and was the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts from 1872 to 1874.  On April 29, 1874 Governor William B. Washburn resigned from office, and Talbot, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, he endorsed restricting laborers workdays to ten hours; and he vetoed a bill that would abolish the state’s prohibition law.  After running unsuccessfully for a term of his own, Talbot left office on January 6, 1875. However, three years later he secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win the general election on November 5, 1878. During his final tenure, the first prison commission was founded; educational reform measures were promoted; the state’s budget was reduced; and state agencies were operated more efficiently. Also, Talbot called for a constitutional amendment that would grant women equal voting privileges.  After declining to run for reelection Talbot left office on January 7, 1880, and retired from political life. Governor Thomas Talbot passed away on October 6, 1886, and was buried in the Lowell Cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts.
  • Paul Efthemios Tsongas (1941-1997) — also known as Paul E. Tsongas — Representative and a Senator from Massachusetts; born in Lowell, Middlesex County, Mass., February 14, 1941; attended the public schools of Lowell; graduated from Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., 1962, and from Yale University School of Law 1967; attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University 1973-1974; lawyer; admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1968 and commenced practice in Lowell; served as Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia 1962-1964, and the West Indies 1967-1968; deputy assistant attorney general of Massachusetts 1969-1971; served as Lowell city councillor 1969-1972; Middlesex County (Mass.) commissioner 1973-1974; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth Congress, November 4, 1974; reelected to the Ninety-fifth Congress (January 3, 1975-January 3, 1979); was not a candidate for reelection to the House of Representatives but was elected in 1978 to the United States Senate; served from January 3, 1979, to January 3, 1985; did not seek reelection; resumed the practice of law in Boston; unsuccessful candidate for 1992 Democratic Presidential nomination; co-founder, The Concord Coalition; was a resident of Lowell, Mass., until his death in Boston, January 18, 1997; interment in Lowell Cemetery.
  • Edith Nourse Rogers (1881-1960) — also known as Edith Frances Nourse — Representative from Massachusetts; born in Saco, York County, Maine, March 19, 1881; graduated from the Rogers Hall School, Lowell, Mass.; graduated from Madame Julien’s School, Paris, France; volunteered, American Red Cross, 1917-1922; Presidential inspector of veterans’ hospitals, 1922-1923; president, board of trustees, Rogers Hall School, Lowell, Mass.; elected as a Republican to the Sixty-ninth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of her husband, United States Representative John Jacob Rogers; reelected to the Seventieth and to the sixteen succeeding Congresses (June 30, 1925-September 10, 1960); chair, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (Eightieth and Eighty-third Congresses); died on September 10, 1960, in Boston, Mass.; interment in Lowell Cemetery, Lowell, Mass.
  • Charles Herbert Allen (1848-1934) — also known as Charles H. Allen — Representative from Massachusetts; born in Lowell, Mass., April 15, 1848; attended public and private schools; was graduated from Amherst College, Mass., in 1869; engaged in the manufacture of wooden boxes and in the lumber business with his father; held various local offices; member of the Massachusetts house of representatives in 1881 and 1882; served in the Massachusetts senate in 1883; colonel and aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Robinson in 1884; elected as a Republican to the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses (March 4, 1885-March 3, 1889); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1888; unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 1890; served as Massachusetts Prison Commissioner in 1897 and 1898; Assistant Secretary of the Navy 1898-1900; served as first civil Governor of Puerto Rico 1900-1902; returned to Lowell, Mass., in 1902 and became financially interested in banking and other enterprises, serving as vice president of the Morton Trust Co. and of the Guaranty Trust Co. of New York and as president of the American Sugar Refining Co.; died in Lowell, Mass., April 20, 1934; interment in Lowell Cemetery.
  • John Jacob Rogers (1881-1925) — also known as John J. Rogers — Representative from Massachusetts; born in Lowell, Middlesex County, Mass., August 18, 1881; attended the public schools, and was graduated from Harvard University in 1904 and from the law department of that university in 1907; was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Lowell in 1908; member of the Lowell city government in 1911; school commissioner in 1912; elected as a Republican to the Sixty-third and to the six succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1913, until his death; during the First World War enlisted on September 12, 1918, as a private with the Twenty-ninth Training Battery, Tenth Training Battalion, Field Artillery, Fourth Central Officers’ Training School, and served until honorably discharged on November 29, 1918; died in Washington, D.C., March 28, 1925; interment in Lowell Cemetery, Lowell, Mass.
  • John Locke (1764-1855) — Representative from Massachusetts; born in Hopkinton, Middlesex County, Mass., February 14, 1764; attended Andover Academy and Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.; taught school; was graduated from Harvard University in 1792; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Ashby in 1796; member of the state house of representatives in 1804, 1805, 1813, and 1823; delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1820; elected as an Adams-Clay Republican to the Eighteenth Congress, and reelected as an Adams candidate to the Nineteenth, and Twentieth Congresses (March 4, 1823-March 3, 1829); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1828; member of the state senate in 1830 and of the state executive council in 1831; resumed the practice of his profession; moved to Lowell, Mass., in 1837 and to Boston in 1849; died in Boston, Mass., March 29, 1855; interment in Lowell Cemetery, Lowell, Middlesex County, Mass.
  • Chauncey Langdon Knapp (1809-1898 ) — Representative from Massachusetts; born in Berlin, Vt., February 26, 1809; completed preparatory studies; learned the art of printing and engaged in newspaper work in Montpelier; for a number of years was coproprietor and editor of the State Journal; secretary of state of Vermont 1836-1849; moved to Massachusetts and located in Lowell; editor of the Lowell News and other papers; secretary of the state senate in 1851; elected as a candidate of the American Party to the Thirty-fourth Congress and as a Republican to the Thirty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1855-March 3, 1859); editor of the Lowell Daily Citizen 1859-1882; died in Lowell, Mass., May 31, 1898; interment in Lowell Cemetery.
  • Tappan Wentworth (1802-1875) —Representative from Massachusetts; born in Dover, N.H., February 24, 1802; received a liberal schooling; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1826 and commenced practice in York County, Maine; moved to Lowell, Mass., in 1833 and continued the practice of law; member of the common council 1836-1841; served in the State house of representatives in 1851, 1859, 1860, 1863, and 1864; member of the State senate in 1848, 1849, 1865, and 1866; elected as a Whig to the Thirty-third Congress (March 4, 1853-March 3, 1855); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1854 to the Thirty-fourth Congress; engaged in the practice of his profession until his death in Lowell, Mass., June 12, 1875; interment in Lowell Cemetery.
  • Benjamin Dean (1824-1897) Representative from Massachusetts; born in Clitheroe, England, August 14, 1824; immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled in Lowell, Mass.; attended Lowell schools, and Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1845 and commenced practice in Lowell; moved to Boston in 1852 and continued the practice of law; served in the State senate in 1862, 1863, and 1869; member of the common council 1865-1866 and 1872-1873; successfully contested as a Democrat the election of Walbridge A. Field to the Forty-fifth Congress and served from March 28, 1878, to March 3, 1879; was not a candidate for renomination in 1878 to the Forty-sixth Congress; resumed the practice of law in Boston; member of the board of park commissioners for several years and served as chairman; died in South Boston, Mass., April 9, 1897; interment in Lowell Cemetery, Lowell, Mass.

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Last Spring I was introduced to the legend of “Witch Bonney” who resides in the Lowell Cemetery in Lowell, Ma. If you go to see her, you will find all sorts of offerings and remnants of candles burned at her feet. There are often coins, flowers, prayer beads, stones and more given to her. I have heard of a story of a woman who took some beads from the grave and had nothing but bad luck and actually brought them back to end the “curse” of those who disrespect her.

The fact is, Clara Bonney Lilley was a married woman who is buried at her father’s (Bonney) plot along with her husband and mother. There is no evidence that she was a witch, although the “story” is that she was a witch that was hung during the witch trials, and she supposedly said before she died that she was going to come back an kill the family members of the people that condemned her. It goes on to say that she is buried with a list of last names of the people who killed her and when her dress falls below her breasts those family members with those last names will die. FACT: Clara died in the 1800’s, not 1600’s.

It is said that one day she will be reborn in the hollow of a tree. Scoff if you wish, but then one notices an odd thing if you frequent the cemetery. Workers there are careful to cut down any trees that are showing age and could be home to her resurrection. Are they believers or just not taking the chance? Supposedly there have been some odd EMF readings at the site as well.

There is also a story of a “guardian” or “protector” of Witch Bonney that you can find by looking where she looks. It is believed that this is the grave she looks to:




So, if you happen into this beautiful cemetery, be sure to say “Hello” to Witch Bonney and her brave lion for me.


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