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Home North Carolina Catawba County City of Corinth Historical Markers Pottery Industry

Pottery Industry

NC-10, Corinth, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 2' 53.28636", -78° 26' 53.6208"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Begun in 18th century by Hartsoe, Hilton, Johnson, Propst, Ritchie, Seagle, and Reinhardt families living in 4 mi. radius."
     Charles G. Zug III, in his 1986 book on pottery in North Carolina, identified three areas as primary pottery centers: the Eastern Piedmont (Randolph, Chatham, and Moore Counties), the Catawba Valley (Catawba and Lincoln), and the Moravian tradition (Forsyth). The western border area of Catawba and Lincoln Counties has long been the center of alkaline-glazed stoneware production. Included in the region are the communities of Propst Crossroads, Blackburn, Plateau, Jugtown, Maiden, Corinth, Henry, Vale, Cat Square, and Rhodes Clayhole.

     The potters of the Catawba Valley over time have been, according to Zug, “almost exclusively German, with names like Dietz, Hartzog, Hefner, Helton, Leonard, Propst, Reinhardt, Rudisill, Seagle, Shufford, Speagle, and Weaver at the heart of the tradition.” Jacob Weaver (d. 1789) was the archetypal Catawba Valley potter. Daniel Seagle (fl. 1850) was the earliest potter in the area to whom pieces can be attributed. David Hartzog and his family lived next door to the Seagles. Burton Craig of northwest Lincoln County was widely recognized as among the state’s last true folk potters. Craig used a kiln built by the Reinhardts in the 1930s.

     North Carolina’s original Jugtown was located just east of the Corinth community in southwest Catawba County. A post office operated there from 1874 to 1906. The postmasters for much of that period were potters Amon Johnson and Wade Johnson, his son. From time to time the whole region has been called “Jugtown” (just as has that area in Randolph and Moore Counties). The Catawba/Lincoln region attracted the craftsmen for several reasons, among them excellent clay and a ready abundance of pine wood to fire the kilns. Parts of the area around Rhodes Clayhole in Lincoln County, from which raw materials were drawn, are said to give the appearance today of a battlefield. Some potters used cinders from nearby ironworks to make a special “cinder glaze” for their pots. Whereas the potters’ primary products were once items for home use, such as churns, jugs, and milk crocks, most of their pieces today are bought by collectors.

Charles G. Zug III, Turners and Burners: The Folk Potters of North Carolina (1986)
Daisy W. Bridges, ed. and comp., Potters of the Catawba Valley (1980)
U.S. Post Office Department, Records of Appointments of Postmasters (microfilm)
William S. Powell, North Carolina Gazetteer (1968)
Pottery Industry Historical Marker Location Map, Corinth, North Carolina