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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
John T. Ayer Biography

This biography appears on pages 74-75 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915) 

John T. Ayer is a well known representative of the republican party in Lawrence county, South Dakota, and is in the employ of the Homestake Mining Company at Lead, being an operative in one of their big stamp mills. He was born in Haverhill, New Hampshire, August 21, 1853, a son of John L. and Melissa (Pike) Ayer. His great-grandfather upon the paternal side was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and emigrated to America in 1742, locating in Maine, since which time the Ayer family has been identified with New England. John L. Ayer was an operator in a paper mill at Wells River, Vermont, during his active life but retired to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1896, passing away there in 1902. The Pike family, to which his wife belonged, has been traced back to England. It was established in Massachusetts in 1680 by a representative who emigrated to that colony from Cornwall among the earliest settlers. Members of the family participated in the colonial wars, the Revolutionary struggle and the War of 1812. Isaac Pike, the maternal grandfather of our subject, was a manufacturer of scythe and oil stones at Pike, New Hampshire, and the business has to the present time been continuously conducted by his sons and grandsons and is now carried on under the name of the Pike Manufacturing Company. It is the largest concern of its kind in the world and sends its products to all civilized countries. Senator A. F. Pike, of New Hampshire, was an uncle of John T. Ayer. The Pike Family Association is the largest association of the kind in the United States and meets annually in the American Hotel at Boston. Three children were born to John L. and Melissa (Pike) Ayer, namely: John T., of this review; Charles J., a resident of Plymouth, New Hampshire, where he conducts the largest real-estate and insurance business in northern New Hampshire and Vermont; and Lillian, the wife of F. M. Bittinger, proprietor of the famous Memorial Press, the oldest newspaper in northern Massachusetts, published at Plymouth. It was established by the Puritans on the site of an old Puritan spring. 

John T. Ayer was reared in Haverhill, New Hampshire, and in the acquirement of his education attended Haverhill Academy and Newberry Seminary, the latter located at Newberry, Vermont. He then went to Biddeford, Maine, and was connected with a retail drug store there for three years, after which he was employed by the wholesale drug firm of Weeks & Potter of Boston, Massachusetts, for a year. In 1876 he went to Laramie, Laramie, Wyoming, and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad Company for two years. In 1878 he removed to the Black Hills, where he was variously employed for a time until he became connected with the firm of Starr & Bullock, hardware dealers, as inside and outside salesman. He was so engaged for several years and them entered the employ of the J. L. Denman Hardware Company at Whitewood, South Dakota, remaining with them for some time. In 1894 he found employment with the Homestake Mining Company of Lead and is at present one of their mill operatives. 

In 1882, in Central City, this state, Mr. Ayer was married to Miss Lillian L. Clark, a daughter of Judge Henry Clark, and to their union eight children have been born, Clay L., Darrell P., Mildred C., Kathryn M., Alta A., Edwin B., Dorothy M. and Eleanor L. 

In political affairs Mr. Ayer supports the republican party and has taken a prominent part in his party councils since 1896 although he has not sought office for himself. He is efficient and conscientious in his work and those who have been brought in contact with him find him courteous, energetic and upright, qualities that invariably win respect and liking.



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