There were three key stoneware potteries operating in Huntingdon County, PA about the middle of the nineteenth century; and while the work of none of these is commonly found, two of them left behind significant bodies of either attributable or signed ware.
One of these is the beloved and fairly well-known Huntingdon shop of Henry Glazier, which operated from about 1830-1854 and (according to Schaltenbrand’s excellent book, Big Ware Turners), may have been the earliest central Pennsylvania stoneware pottery.
A second pottery produced ware that, when marked, is at least as equally rare as Glazier’s–that of the Hissong family, who made stoneware in Cassville from 1847-1912. In 2009, we were very happy to handle what is by far one of the best signed examples of Hissong stoneware: a pitcher marked “E.B. HISSONG / CASSVILL” and made for a local tavern keeper.
(If we want to veer a little beyond the middle of the century, we could include the Shirleysburg shop of Philip Kabis, who worked circa 1864-88 and for whom marked ware is very rare.)
But there is another Cassville pottery that operated for a long time (1842-1913!), but for whom no signed work is known–that of Jacob Greenland and his family. Greenland is notable not only as a long-term Huntingdon County stoneware producer, but as a member of a well-known family of potters operating in southwestern PA and Morgantown, West Virginia. As my brother, Mark, put it on our Featured Photos Page for our 10/26/2019 auction:
Jacob Greenland (1804-1867), was the youngest brother of early Morgantown, WV earthenware potter, Abner Greenland (1783-1830). Abner Greenland married the sister of Morgantown, WV potter, John W. Thompson, a man responsible for bringing brushed figural decoration to the region. Abner Greenland would later establish a pottery in Uniontown, PA that would be carried on by his son, Norval, an establishment also known for producing people-decorated stoneware.
Indeed, the Morgantown-Uniontown stoneware school of the Thompsons and Greenlands churned out the beloved “People Crocks” that are amongst the most sought-after from the region.
And so it is remarkable that a great Huntingdon County, PA churn was just consigned to our October 2019 auction, bearing a distinctive local floral design, the inscribed name of a Cassville merchant (with accompanying 1855 date), and the figure of a woman in the very manner of Jacob Greenland’s family in Uniontown and Morgantown. What cinches this example up as a confirmed Jacob Greenland product is the fact that the aforementioned merchant, Richardson Read, appears on the very same 1850 federal census page as Greenland, making him a close neighbor of the potter.
Thus for the first time we have a great sense of the type of pottery Jacob Greenland was making alongside his fellow Huntingdon County stoneware manufacturers, and it is just the sort of stoneware we would expect him to make, in terms of decoration. This churn will allow us to attribute future examples to a prolific pottery, and it is always exciting to be able to fill in gaps like this, as we try to flesh out a more complete history of the American stoneware industry!
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