Saturday, April 2, 2011

Window on Cecil County's Past

By James R. Koterski

Clay deposits played a major role in the economy of by-gone Cecil County. Some were mined and shipped out-of-state while others provided the key raw material to potters and firebrick makers. Wheel-thrown redware and stoneware were fired in kilns at Rising Sun, Brick Meeting House, NorthEast and Rock Springs. Meanwhile some Delaware and Pennsylvania potters relied on the county’s clays to turn their pots. The names of some potters like William Carter and Eli Haines were virtually unknown until this book traced the role this craft played in their lives. An exquisite harvest jug fashioned by Carter in 1847 survives today. Other names – Remmey, Grier, Hare, Magee, Brown and Schofield – are much more recognizable to today’s collectors and historians, yet in many cases, connections to Cecil County were unknown or incomplete.

Commercial firebrick operations were attracted by the abundance of kaolin-based clays. Some were short-lived while others carried on for decades. Most companies like Cecil, North East, Wakefield, Green Hill and United molded and fired these refractory bricks around the town of North East.

Potters and Firebrick Makers of Cecil County, Maryland, and Nearby is illustrated with over 100 images, nearly half in color. Spanning 140 pages and 8.5” X 11” in size, this book was built from numerous newspaper accounts, land records, family histories and pottery collections. It provides a valuable window to the past and deserves the widespread interest from fans of local history and pottery enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Available From History in Print, P.O. Box 185, Mendenhall, PA 19357, (610) 388-6836; $30.00