While we’re on the topic of Lowell Cemetery, the front page of the print edition of the New England Travel section of today’s Globe greets us with a photo of the Bonney monument at Lowell Cemetery, an image that I’ve frequently posted to promote my walking tours of the cemetery.
The Globe article, “Make It Macabre: No matter what your state, there are ghoulish, ghostly, even ghastly sites to give you the shivers,” is written by J. W. Ocker, the creator of the website, OTIS: Odd Things I’ve Seen. His mention of the Lowell Cemetery in the Globe article states:
This 170-year old cemetery features the grave of the woman Edgar Allan Poe fell in love with after his wife’s death, a massive white marble lion, and a dark statue that’s slipped into lore as the ominous Witch Bonney.
Ocker has a more extensive account of his impressions of Lowell Cemetery on his blog.
Those of you who have been on my fall tour of the cemetery are familiar with the Bonney monument. It is the resting place of Arthur Perkins Bonney (1828-1896), a prominent Lowell lawyer and judge; his wife, Emma Augusta Call (1828-1892); their daughter, Clara Bonney (1855-1894); and her husband, Charles Sumner Lilley (1855-1921), another lawyer/judge. The bronze statue called “New Life”, was created by Frank Elwell who was the curator of Sculpture and Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Clara died at a relatively young age of tuberculosis and her obituary praised the fortitude with which she bore her long and painful final illness. Nothing I have found about her explains the legend that has arisen around the monument.