In 1796, a country parson named Jonathan Fisher came to Blue Hill, Maine. He got married and set up his home.
He was a very curious and multi-talented person. He decided to illustrate a children’s Bible with artwork he made himself from wood cuts. He made it all by hand himself, and called it Scripture Animals. He kept notes in a journal every day and constantly sought to improve every system around him. He made so many things, from furniture to buttons to books.
A Testament to the People of Blue Hill
What makes his story memorable today is that his house, filled with all his artwork and possessions, sat empty for many decades. Local people respected and cared for the property long after the family moved away. In the 1950s, they had the foresight to protect its historical values.
I think it says a lot about the people of Blue Hill that this house was not ransacked by people seeking antiques or vandalized – but in fact local people made sure the roof was solid and kept the rain out.
I took a Family Nature Summit green tour to visit Jonathan Fisher’s house, which is open to visitors. That same community spirit was evident in the volunteers who showed us the house – they were all clearly passionate about Jonathan Fisher.
- A tree expert showed us how she was trying to re-create his orchards filled with heirloom species that she herself nurtures in her farm.
- An art teacher lovingly pointed out the details of his art and furniture.
- One volunteer dressed as Fisher as he showed us the paints Fisher made from locally-mined metals.
- Another read excerpts from his journals to illustrate his personality and attention to detail.
Upstairs, we put on white gloves and held his original prints in protective covers. The detail of his wood block animals was astounding given the materials he had.