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Home North Carolina Moore County City of Jugtown Historical Markers Pottery Industry

Pottery Industry

NC 705 at Chriscoe Road, Jugtown, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Begun in 18th century by Chriscoe, Cole, Craven, Luck, McNeill, Owen, & Teague families living within 5 mile radius."
     The first settlers to enter what would become Moore County arrived during the first half of the eighteenth century as they migrated into North Carolina’s backcountry. The county was formed in 1784 although the first grants were recorded in 1746. The early settlers of the county were self-sufficient yeoman farmers, producing all they needed for existence in the region, from growing crops to creating utilitarian tools such as ceramic jugs, bowls, and plates from the abundant supplies of clay from northwestern sections of the county.

     The region offered a perfect mix of natural ingredients to enable the fledgling potters to prosper: clay deposits, mineral deposits to create glazes, and a large expanse of woodlands to provide fuel for kilns. Speculation by archaeologists and historians of Moore County indicates that many of the early potters were descendants of potters from Staffordshire, England who first landed in Virginia and migrated into North Carolina. The wares the early potters produced provided cash to supplement their subsistence operations and enabled them to purchase products for their families, as well as pay taxes.
     Several families have been identified by researchers of the pottery industry in Moore as being leaders of the move from homemade pottery wares for utilitarian use into the realm of art pottery. Not only did the industry evolve from the potters making pieces for use on local tables but they also saw the need to create wares for the burgeoning tourist trade in nearby Southern Pines. Upon the recommendation of historian Charles Zug, the following families have been identified as ones that can trace their earliest roots to the first settlers of the county and pride themselves on continuing the traditions of their ancestors: Chriscoe, Cole, Craven, Luck, McNeill, Owen, and Teague. The families all lived within a five mile radius of one another and cooperated to build their industry.

     A boost to the Moore County pottery trade came in the twentieth century with the financial and marketing savvy of artists Juliana and Jacques Busbee of Raleigh. The Busbees worked to promote and encourage the artistic abilities of local artists while they brought national attention to the wares of traditional potters. Many potters still work in the county and are descendants of the earliest settlers. The work of the Busbees has proven fruitful since pottery from the area is considered highly collectible.

Charles Zug, Turners and Burners: The Folk Potters of North Carolina (1986)
Nancy Sweezy, Raised in Clay: The Southern Pottery Tradition (1984)
Blackwell Robinson, A History of Moore County North Carolina, 1747-1847 (1956)
Manly Wade Wellman, The County of Moore, 1847-1947(1962)
North Carolina Pottery Center website: http://www.ncpotterycenter.com/index.htm