Hannah Pottery Works in Shady Cove
Wednesday June 29, 2005
By Dawna Curler
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Handmade pottery, popular today for its decorative value and craftsmanship, is not the household necessity it was in Josiah Hannah's Day.
Josiah Hannah brought twenty years experience working in a Missouri pottery with him when he and his family came to Southern Oregon in 1862. The Hannahs bought a place near Shady Cove where they farmed, ranched and ran a ferry. They also built a pottery and made utilitarian stoneware for early Rogue Valley residents.
Josiah and his son hauled wagon loads of clay and salt over twenty miles to their ranch. They prepared the clay in shallow pits then fashioned sturdy crocks, jugs, churns, pitchers, milk pans and more by hand on a kick wheel. They fired the pottery in a walk-in kiln they built themselves and added salt to the fireboxes creating a low-gloss finish in earthy brown, green, and purple hues. Until the railroad made mass-produced glass and tin ware more available, Hannahs' products were the main kitchen tools pioneer housewives used to preserve, prepare, and serve their family's food.
Once plentiful and commonplace, Hannah stoneware is rare today but quite collectable. A piece discovered in a dusty cellar would make a collector's heart sing.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
Ingram, Nancy, Jim Robinson, and Sue Waldron. "Pioneer Pottery: Wares for Southern Oregon Homesteaders," Table Rock Sentinel, September/October 1988, pp.10-16.