In the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century, a collection of neighboring towns in southern Randolph County and northern Chambers County was home to some of the South’s foremost potteries. The high-quality clays native to that area attracted numerous pottery-making families who emigrated from South Carolina and Georgia following the opening of Creek territories in east Alabama. Shops in communities such as Rock Mills, Bacon Level, Cedric, and Hickory Flat produced an abundance of distinctive ceramic vessels that were purchased by settlers in Alabama and travelers across the state for use as household implements, food storage and preparation, and highly decorated objects of fancy.
Prized in their day, the Randolph-Chambers potteries have since been overshadowed by more familiar sites in Edgefield, SC, Catawba Valley, NC, and north Georgia. This focused exhibition will shed light on an important chapter in Alabama history and draw much-deserved attention to the area’s remarkable potters and their achievements. Organized by JCSM with the assistance of collector Gary Price, the exhibition celebrates the work of William Hudson Boggs, “Charley” Brown, Cicero Demosthenes Hudson, John Frederick Lehman, John Davis Leopard, William Davis Pound, Zachary Taylor Ussery, Jesse James Weathers, and several others who left a colorful legacy of ceramic production.