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Jordan, Lucius
Place Made:
Washington County Georgia United States of America
Date Made:
stoneware –alkaline-glazed
HOA: 12 1/2″
Accession Number:
This alkaline-glazed jug is incised with the initials “LJ” for potter Lucius Jordan, working in Washington County, Georgia. Alkaline glaze involves a mix of clay and ash or lime that acted as a flux. The handle is what is sometimes referred to as a strap handle. A strap handle is made by pulling or extruding a strip of clay, placing one end of the strip against the vessel, then looping it out to make the handle shape. This differs from a handle that is pulled from the vessel after the clay is attached, usually at the neck.

MAKER: Lucius Jordan (1816-1880) was born in Georgia and evidence, including an 1836 tax list from Washington County, Georgia, implies that Jordan was a free person of color and perhaps of mixed race. It is not until the 1860 census that Jordan is listed as a “Jug Maker” for his profession. His brother Elbert Jordan (b. 1818) was also listed as a “Jug Maker” in the 1860 census. The Jordans likely trained as potters under Abraham Massey (b. 1785) and/or Cyrus Cogburn (1782-1855), two of Washington County, Georgia’s prominent early potters. Both Cogburn and Massey worked as potters in Edgefield, South Carolina, at various shops including with Abner Landrum, one of the eminent shop owners in early Edgefield. Often Jordan’s shapes are ovoid and all are alkaline-glazed. He is the only Washington County potter to mark his work, incising in script his initials, “LJ” or simply “J.”

Burrison, John A. “Brothers in Clay: The Story of Georgia Folk Pottery.” Athens, GA: UGA Press, 1995.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund