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Place Made:
Westerwald Germany
Date Made:
HOA: 5 1/2
Accession Number:
This stoneware mug was brought to Ebenezer, Georgia, in the 1740s by John Michael Zeigler (1696-1756). Zeigler was a member of the Salzburgers, a sect of German-speaking Protestants who settled upriver from Savannah beginning in 1733. By 1741 Ebeneezer was home to more than 1000 inhabitants.

The mug was made in the Westerwald district, Germany, between 1700-1730. It is typical of the cobalt decorated salt-glazed stoneware made in that region. Made for the German market, this piece’s has decoration commemorates the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties that brought the Thirty Years’ War and the Eighty Years Wars to a close. The Peace of Westphalia was of considerable importance to the various German principalities, since it guaranteed territorial sovereignty of the states and established the principle of private religious freedom.

Despite the promise of religious freedom enshrined in the Peace of Westphalia, religious persecution in Europe did not come to an end. In 1734 the Reverend Johan Martin Bolzius (1703-1765) accompanied nearly fifty German and Austrian Lutherans to Georgia. They were fleeing the oppression of the Catholic Archbishopric of Salzburg. Three additional groups of Salzburgers, as they were called, followed, and German Protestants from Wurttemberg joined the settlement during the 1750s.

Fighting during the American Revolution left the town in ruins and it never recovered. By 1855 it had largely been abandoned. The 1769 Jerusalem Lutheran Church is one of the few surviving structures. The church and the Ebeneezer town site are both listed on the National Register. The town site is also the focus on ongoing archaeological investigations.

RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA has several objects that relate to the Salzburger experience in Georgia. These include a table made at Ebenezer (MESDA acc. 2082); a 1747 map of Ebenezer (MESDA acc. 2867); and a print of Johann Martin Bolzius, the Lutheran minister who accompanied the Salzburgers to Georgia and established the town of Ebeneezer (MESDA acc. 2024.39).

DESCRIPTION: Salt-glazed stoneware mug, ribbed and with an extruded handle and cobalt and manganese decoration over raised designs of bands of diamonds flanking a frieze. This frieze contains sprig-molded decoration of eleven soldiers among which are those of Spain, France, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Germany, and England.

Descended in the family of John Michael Zeigler(1696-1756) who brought it to Georgia during the 1740s when he came to settle at Ebenezer.
Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton