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The Pottersville House

Located on the outskirts of Edgefield is a property known as the Pottersville House. This structure is the last structure remaining from what was once the town of Pottersville 208 years ago. It is believed to have originally been built for and owned by Abner Landrum. Abner and John Landrum are credited with introducing Edgefield Pottery to much of North America through their potteries located in Edgefield. 

According to the Edgefield Register of Deeds, in April of 1827, the structure was used as a home, a church and a school, before becoming the home of John Kirksey in 1850. Today, the house is located on 2 acres and is currently owned by Preservation South Carolina who purchased the dilapidated home in 2019. The City of Edgefield owns adjoining property where a woodfired Kiln, known as the Dr. Arthur and Esther Goldberg Groundhog Kiln, is used to fire pottery. 

In the early 1800s, the Landrum family settled in what was then called Edgefield District, now Edgefield County. The Landrum's, like many others in the area, owned slaves who helped run their plantations and businesses. In 1810 Dr. Abner Landrum built an entire community around the slave production of stoneware pottery, referred to as Landrumsville, and later recognized as Pottersville.

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1817 Map of Edgefield, SC 

Pottersville made use of the abundant red clay and kaolin deposits in the region. Kaolin was, and still is, used for a number of practical purposes, such as Kaopectate, toothpaste, and paint pigment. In stoneware pottery, this white clay allowed for the addition of decorative elements to the red-clay pots and jars. Edgefield District potters made use of the kaolin, sand, pine, and feldspars naturally available to them. These elements were essential to Edgefield's pottery production. Edgefield pottery was at the apex of economic, industrial, political, social, and artistic development in 19th century SC.

By 1832, Pottersville quickly grew to a village of approximately 150 and soon earned a reputation for producing inexpensive, sturdy, and beautiful stoneware. By the 1840s, numerous families had begun similar operations and Edgefield gained greater renown for its pottery. Enslaved labor was still heavily relied upon, and a handful of skilled artisans stood out among them, including David Drake. 

The MET Exhibit: Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

Signed David Drake Piece

April 12, 1858

Drake, also known as "Dave the Potter",  was born around 1800.  Drake was among the relatively few literate slaves of his time, perhaps having been taught to read by his first owner, Harry Drake. Although it was against the law to educate slaves for fear that literacy would spark free will and potential uprising, many owners taught their slaves to read so they could study the Bible. Dave's literacy allowed him to mark many of his pots with a signature and date, or more rarely, a rhyming couplet or short poem. Today, David Drake pieces are highly sought after and can be found in exhibits within The Charleston Museum, The McKissick Museum, The International African American Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of New York.

Today 

 

We are pleased to share that our team performed an initial survey of the house, resulting in a preliminary report that contained a measured field plan of the house.

 

We hope to announce a groundbreaking project in 2024. Stay tuned!

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