John G. Lesure

COURTESY

Dr. Lesure’s remedies sales wagon.

John G. Lesure of Keene has been credited with having begun the first line of veterinary medicines in the country. Lesure was born in Barnard, Vt., in the 1840s and began his work with horses as a blacksmith in Royalton. He branched out into the livery business that he pursued for several years.

As he worked with horses, Lesure tried to find ways to cure their ailments. He became so experienced at this that his neighbors began to bring their horses to him. At that point, he decided to study under a trained veterinarian and was soon devoting all of his time to equine diseases and their treatment.

Lesure’s medicines became so popular that he opened J.G. Lesure & Co. in Keene in 1885 to manufacture the medicines. The medicines were developed in the company laboratory at 144 Winchester St.

Other companies soon imitated Lesure’s group of medicines, but he continued to have the largest line in the country. In the 1890s he had three traveling salesmen and shipped his products to stores across the United States.

Among Lesure’s many remedies were the All Healing Balm, Electric Hoof Ointment, Worm Annihilator, Veterinary Fever Drops and Lesure’s Veterinary Colic Cure.

Lesure operated the business for 16 years until his death in 1901. His family continued Lesure’s Veterinary Medicines into the 1930s.

Alan F. Rumrill is executive director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County, which has been collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the region since 1927. It’s on Main Street. To learn more about its public programs and collections, visit hsccnh.org.