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Watkins, Henry
Place Made:
Randolph County or Guilford County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
earthenware –lead-glazed
HOA: 7 3/16″; DIA: 5 1/3″
Accession Number:
Thrown on a pottery wheel, this jar features strap handles against the sides below the rim, and positioned in line with the high neck of the jar. It has an incised decoration of parallel and wavy lines along the shoulder. It is made from a buff earthenware clay. The dark coloring is a result of the kiln firing in which the atmosphere became reduced, suppressing the oxygen, drawing iron to the surface and creating a dark color. The bright orange halos came from oxygen being drawn through the minerals in the clay body, also during the kiln firing in the reduced atmosphere. Signed on the bottom, “Henry Watkins.”

MAKER: Henry Watkins (b. circa 1797) was closely affiliated, and probably apprenticed, with the Quaker potter William Dennis (1769-1847) of Randolph County. In 1817, Watkins was accepted into Marlborough Monthly Meeting and two years later married Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of Obadiah and Sarah Chamness Elliott. After living and working near the Dennises, in 1837 Watkins moved into southern Guilford County where he is listed in the 1850 census as a potter.

Pugh, Hal E. and Eleanor Minnock-Pugh. “The Quaker Ceramics Tradition in Piedmont, North Carolina.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA 2010: 66-105.

Along with a dish and lamp, this jar descended in Frazier family of Randolph County, NC. The last owner inherited it from her great-grandmother, Hannah Blair (1814-1880), who married Solomon Frazier (1816-1904) on January 1, 1840. The Blairs and Fraziers were Quakers historically affiliated with the Springfield and Center monthly meetings, located in southern Guilford County along the Randolph County line. As a Quaker pacifist, Solomon Frazier was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during the Civil War . Letters from Solomon to his wife, written from the Confederate Prison in Salisbury, NC, survive in the Friends Historical Collection at Guilford College.

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton