Vienna Historical Society
Preserving the History of Vienna and Mount Vernon, Maine

Jonathan Poor

                                                                                                   Jonathan Poor
                                                                                 1807 - 1845

Jonathan Poor was born in Cumberland County in 1807, son of Jonathan Poor and Ruth Porter of Sebago, and nephew of Benjamin Porter of Vienna.  It has been postulated by historians that at the age of sixteen he started his itinerant career as an apprentice/assistant with Rufus Porter’s traveling portrait shop.  Porter, creator of Scientific American magazine, was Poor’s uncle and was at the time a portraitist, muralist and inventor. 

From 1830 to 1840, Poor was the most prolific student of Porter’s school of mural painters.  While living in Vienna in the 1930s, Poor married his 2nd cousin Caroline Porter.  Over the years, Poor executed murals in all of the New England states, but the largest body of work attributed to him alone was done in Vienna, Mount Vernon, Chesterville, Farmington and other neighboring towns during his stay in Vienna.  Some of Poor’s murals are still in existence in the original homes, but many have been destroyed by fire or have been papered over.  Several of the murals are in Museums.

                                                             Jonathan Poor Mural from the Silas Burbank House

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