Monday, September 23, 2013

Thank you, Edgefield!

I want to thank the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society, Old Edgefield District African American Genealogical Society and the town of Edgefield, South Carolina for hosting the Southern Studies Showcase.  Y’all did a fantastic job!

Tomorrow I will be giving you a little synopsis of the classes I took but today I wanted to tell you a couple of interesting things about Edgefield itself.

Edgefield is a small town with a spectacular past.  It is the birthplace of ten governors.  I doubt there is any other town in the entire United States that can say that.  It is also home of Edgefield Pottery.  They have been making pottery in this area since the very early 1800s.  The “Fall Line” has a large deposit of clay along its length making this area perfect for potters.   The Edgefield County Historical Society and Old Edgefield Pottery operate an authentic groundhog kiln which is fired up three to four times a year.  Several local artisans use the kiln.  They keep the kiln burning for two days using two full cords of wood.  The temperature inside is 2500+ degrees.  The kiln is then allowed to cool for four days.  Saturday morning, before the second day of the Southern Studies Showcase got underway, the kiln was opened.  Over 150 pieces of pottery were removed from the kiln and then were immediately put up for sale with the artisans standing by.  The temperature inside the kiln was still approximately 120 degrees even after the four day cooling period.

Here are a few pictures:

001Opening the kiln by removing the entrance bricks


Master Potter Justin Guy inside the kiln retrieving the pottery


Inside the kiln


Some of the pottery taken out of the kiln

Here is a trivia question for you:  Why is the clay in the deep south red and what is the difference between the clay you dig up out of the ground here in the south and the “slip” they use when making ceramics?  Answers tomorrow!

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. I had ancestors in Edgefield and believe one of them was involved in pottery. I was so jealous when you said you were going to the Southern Studies Showcase! Thanks for sharing the pictures and I look forward to tomorrow's synopsis!

  2. You would have loved the Edgefield Pottery lecture then. Justin talked about the different pottery families in the ares from the early 1800s through about 1900.