Jug

Jug

Artist: Attributed to William Bird
Type: wheel-turned salt-glazed stoneware
Year: circa 1845
Size/Dimensions: 12 x 7 ½ in.
Origin: Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council Grant Purchase
Accession Number: 2016.23.6

This ovoid jug is a typical early nineteenth century form, found at the Bird-Welch site. While the early form indicates the maker to be William Bird, it is possible that the piece was turned by John Welch during his early apprentice days in the 1850s.
The first Bird kiln sat on a gravel bridge overlooking a tributary of the west fork of Tulip Creek in Dallas County, Arkansas. This small community was home to the state’s earliest documented potters who were working in the European tradition. Census records portray various Bird family members working side by side. The 1850 Dallas County census lists the father, William Cornelius Bird, as a tanner living with his son, James. Next door lived Joseph Bird, who was “milling,” and William Lafayette Bird (1826–1901), who is listed as a potter. One household away lived Nathaniel Bird, also listed as a potter. Although brothers Joseph and Nathaniel Bird were the first documented pottery manufacturers in Arkansas, their brother William Lafayette Bird was the true, practicing potter in the family. Although he left the trade briefly in 1861, he continued the trade until his death in 1901.

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Jug