George S. Fisher
- Jim Wade
- July 1, 2016
- 3 Min Read
George came to Almont in 1878 and lived on a farm west of the village. A few years later the family would move into the village.
George married Ida May Conley on February 21, 1880 in Almont. They would have seven children, all born in Almont; Charles Edwin, Clayton Henry, Bertha May, Robert Earl, Grace Elizabeth, George Russell, and Rene Harold.
Almont in the late 1870’s and into the 1880’s was in transition. The logging and lumber production operations that had been the backbone of the local economy had, for the most part, closed and moved on to other locations. What remained were productive farms and orchards, which required fewer workers. A small foundry provided some of the men with employment.
At that time, Almont had well maintained dirt streets and an extensive system of wooden boardwalks – predecessors to our current cement sidewalks. To facilitate movement around town after dark, the town had installed approximately 30 street lamps throughout the downtown and surrounding areas. This was before electricity and electric lights. The lamps were fueled by kerosene or gasoline. The lamps required constant maintenance. They needed to be periodically refueled, the wicks trimmed or replaced, and the glass housing cleaned. The lamps needed to be lit and extinguished, daily.
George G. Fisher became known as the “The Lamplighter” because that was his job. For 24 years, every evening he would walk around town carrying his ladder and supplies. He would stop at each light and set his ladder against the pole, climb up and light the lamp’s wick. The characteristic horizontal posts on the lamp post were designed for the lamplighter’s ladder to rest upon. A few hours later, around 10:00 p.m., he would repeat the process and extinguish the lamps. During daylight on every third day, George would make his rounds for the purpose of refilling the lamps, cleaning them, and attending to the lamp’s wick, either trimming it or replacing it.
George also worked as the custodian for the First Congregational Church and as such he also got another job. Unlike today when the fire siren blows to alert the members of our volunteer fire department, the signal at that time was the ringing of the bells in the Congregational Church steeple. It was George’s responsibility to ring the bell in the event of a fire. On at least one occasion, George was on his rounds lighting or extinguishing the town lamps when his wife was notified of a large fire. Rather than track George down on his rounds, Ida went to the church, climbed up to the bell tower and rang the bells.
George also dug wells and was one of the people that were called when a grave needed to be dug. At age 76 he helped his son, Clayton dig a grave. He probably dug the graves for four of his children who are buried in the Hough Cemetery. George G. Fisher died on May 18, 1935 in Almont at the age of 80 years, 2 months, and 25 days. His wife, Ida, would pass on January 15, 1938 at the age of 77 years and seven months. They are buried together in Hough Cemetery.