Landrum Family Photos | Digital Traditions

Dr. Abner Landrum (1783-1856) was a major figure in the development and dissemination of the alkaline-glazed pottery tradition. In addition to being a newspaper editor and land speculator, he is credited with opening the first pottery factory in Edgefield. Although the exact date is unknown, it is generally believed that he was firing pots at least by 1810.

Landrum purchased over 450 acres of land in Edgefield during the early 19th century and divided it into several lots that he later sold to create the village of Pottersville. There he founded the Pottersville Stoneware Manufactory. This is the earliest documented pottery factory where alkaline-glazed stoneware was produced.

The term factory is used in reference to the Edgefield stoneware operations, as opposed to the simpler terms, pottery or pottery shop, used by most southern stoneware scholars. This special terminology reflects a divergent attitude toward stoneware production in Edgefield. Whereas in most of the South, stoneware manufacture was a part-time, seasonal activity involving family-owned and operated pottery shops, Edgefield stoneware factories were full-scale business enterprises utilizing journeyman potters and slave labor.

Two of Landrum's older brothers, John (1765-1846) and Amos (1780-ca. 1862), were also pioneers in the the Edgefield pottery trade. During the 1820s and 1830s, John and Amos established a number of pottery factories in the southern section of the district. John Landrum's son, Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Landrum (ca. 1812-ca. 1900) was also a pottery manufacturer during the mid-1800s.