MAKER: This jar is attributed to the Rockingham County, Virginia potter John D. Heatwole (1826-1907). Exactly how Heatwole became associated with the pottery families working in Rockingham County, Virginia, in the second quarter of the nineteenth-century is unclear; however, it is likely that Heatwole learned his craft from the “father of the Rockingham style,” Andrew Coffman, in the 1840s. The strong similarities in design and decoration between Coffman’s and Heatwole’s pots leads to this conclusion. Further cementing the connection, Heatwole married Andrew Coffman’s daughter in 1848. In “A Great Deal of Stone and Earthen Ware,” Jeffrey S. Evans and Scott Suter note that the high collar and ovoid shape on this piece relate it to Coffman’s work. Andrew Coffman was the first to create this style of jar, and it became a distinctive Rockingham County, Virginia, form. Another famous Rockingham County potter, Emmanuel Suter, trained under John D. Heatwole, and Suter continued making this form in his pottery production through the third quarter of the nineteenth-century.
Evans, Jeffrey S. and Scott Hamilton Suter. “A Great Deal of Stone & Earthen Ware.” Dayton, VA: Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, 2004.