Colonial Pottery at Historic Camden: Revolution and Trade

Colonial Pottery at Historic Camden: Revolution and Trade
Excerpt from Fireside Chat Resources found on HistoricCamden.org

John Bartlam was born 1735 in Stoke-on-Trent
Staffordshire, England landed in Charleston, South Carolina as a master potter.
By 1765 Bartlam had established
South Carolina’s first Pottworks making fine English tableware
referred to as a Manufactory of Earthern Ware at Cain Hoy,
about 10 miles upriver from Charleston, on the banks of the
Wando River.
Bartlam’s relocation to South Carolina was of great concern to
Staffordshire potter Josiah Wedgwood, who in 1765 wrote
to his business partner Thomas Bentley stating
“This trade to our colonies we are apprehensive of losing in a
few years, as they have set foot on some pottworks there
already, and have at this time an agent amongst us hiring a
number of our hands for establishing new a pottworks in South
Carolina; having got one of our insolvent Master Potters there
to conduct them. They have every material there, equal if not
superior to our own, for carrying on that manufacture; and as
the necessaries of life, and consequently the price of labor
amongst us are daily advancing, it is highly probable that more
will follow them…”

At some point in the latter part of 1771 probably shortly after
the close of the Cainhoy Pottery & China Manufactory Bartlam his wife
Mary and his two daughters Honour and Betty Allen relocated
to Camden. We know that Bartlam used his account at Joseph
Kershaw’s store in July of 1772 and by October 10, 1772
Bartlam was in the custody of the Camden Sheriff on the
charge of bad debit brought by four men in Charleston. There
is no record of how Bartlam resolved his debits or raised the
money to build his third and final pottworks. But by the spring
of 1774 his Camden pottworks was in full swing and he was
shipping and selling his queens ware, cream ware and earthen
ware in Charleston were according to the South Carolina
Gazette, April 11, 1774. “equal in quality and appearance and can be afforded as
cheap, as any imported from England.”

And two years later, on April 13th, 1776 Dr. James Clitherall, a
Charleston Physician wrote in his diary
“Mr. Kershaw, who entertain me with a Ride of about four
Miles around by his Flour and Saw Mills which were very
large and in good order and by Log Town to the Pottery. Here
I saw some exceeding good Pans etc. which a Man who had
set up these found great demand for.”

There is no telling if Bartlam was a loyalist or a patriot when he arrived in Camden in the spring of 1772. But we do know that his probable patron Joseph Kershaw was an outspoken patriot and by March of 1775 Kershaw had personally raised a regiment of 200 patriots which included Bartlam called the Camden District Regiment which was active throughout the American Revolution. We have no evidence of what battles Bartlam saw action in as a patriot and member of Kershaw’s Camden District [patriot] Regiment. But we do know at the second battle of Camden known as the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill on April 25,1781 Bartlam was fighting as a loyalist in Starke’s Company under JohnMarshall’s Regiment in Camden District. While there is no evidence of Bartlam being wounded, or killed during the battle of Hobkirk’s Hill. We do know that two weeks after the battle Mary Bartlam and her two daughters where part of Lord Rawdon’s evolution of Camden as loyalist refugees. And two months later, while living in the squalor of the of the loyalist refugee camp outside of Charleston, Mary Bartlam was appointed administer of her late husband’s estate.

In 1783 Bartlam was officially declared a deserter of the Camden District [patriot] Regiment and his property valued at £525 confiscated. Bartlam’s widow Mary tried to claim compensation from the British Government for her husbands confiscated property but there is no evidence that she was awarded anything. Mary and her two daughters did eventually return to Staffordshsire where Mary died in 1818.

Below you will find a link to a PDF with more discussion about John Bartlam

Bartlam Docent Narrative 02-05-21 (1)

DAR History

Historic Camden Foundation wants to highlight some of the historic preservation efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution here in South Carolina.  In Kershaw County, the Hobkirk’s Hill Chapter led the efforts to save the site of the Battle of Camden in 1907 setting aside 5 acres of the core battlefield.  Within that preservation, this group of local women, (Who incidentally were not allowed to vote in national or local elections at the time) conceived of, funded and protected the land, and artifacts of that 1780 battle for independence.  In so protecting, they along with DAR chapters across the United States, became leaders in preserving our nation’s Revolutionary War story.

Some of the significant Revolutionary War areas across South Carolina connected to DAR preservation efforts can be found here:

https://www.dar.org/national-society/historic-sites-and-properties/state-site-list/SC

Included therein are the following:

Birthplace of Andrew Jackson Monument Marker, Van Wyck community

Buford Battleground and Gravesite, Tradesville vicinity

Culbertson Back Country Settlement, Laurens County

Fort Watson Monument, South of Summerton

General Francis Marion’s Tomb, Pineville

King’s Mountain Battlefield, York

Old Waxhaw Church and Cemetery, Lancaster City

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Charleston

Impactful preservation which the SC DAR has led and made significant effort to protect include: The South Carolina DAR Forest – between Camden and Cheraw, where sixty-six thousand five hundred Penny Pines were planted in 1940

The Tamassee School, in Tamassee, South Carolina, founded in 1919 to serve the underprivileged children of Appalachia. Historic buildings can be observed on the school campus.

In recent years the Hambright Chapter of North Carolina dedicated an impressive marker honoring African American patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain (2016).

In 2012, the Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson Chapter, Indian Land, SC dedicated a memorial to honor Colonel Abraham Buford and his regiment of 350 Virginians. Nearly all were either killed or wounded by Colonel Tarleton’s British Army, even though they waved the white flag of surrender.

In 1950, Clarendon County:  Elizabeth Peyre Richardson Manning Chapter honored General Francis Marion and Colonel Henry Lee and their militia which captured British Fort Watson on April 23, 1781 with the use of the Maham tower. This capture secured the Santee River crossing and path so that the British could not re-supply Camden, which led to the British loss in the South Carolina backcountry.

As you visit state historical sites, please take the time to note the important preservation efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

A 50th Anniversary Thank You!

The Historic Camden Foundation would like to thank all those who participated in our November 6th and 7th events. We are proud that you chose to join us in celebrating the extraordinary Colonial and Revolutionary War history of Camden and Kershaw County!

Update on the Historic Camden Horticulture and Trade Program

By:  Southwick C Briggs II

Founder:  Hemp Earth & Lime Co & CI Labor Readiness Training Co.

The City of Camden has a long history of brickmaking and now visitors to Historic Camden will be able to get their hands and feet muddy making bricks at the new colonial brickyard.  The brickyard is just the first step in a series of trade and horticultural hands-on exhibits designed to understand, interpret and demonstrate the tools and manufacturing processes used within the context of an 18th century non-plantation, semi-subsistence society like the colonial town of Camden.  Colonel Camden was the only multi-functioning, South Carolina, inland settlement during the Colonial period.

Hand-making bricks is just the beginning of the story for visitors to the brickyard.  The brickyard will be hosting all kinds of interesting hands-on workshops, starting in early July, with a 2-day fun “Do it Yourself” workshop on how to build an 18th century wood-fired earthen oven. Great for making pizza!  The brickyard will also be available on Friday evenings for fun social and team building events.

Visitors to the new colonial brickyard this summer will also have an opportunity see how relevant the past is to properly train young men and women for the future.  Journeyman Richard French has spent more than twenty years working as a highly paid refractory mason, working all over North America.  This summer French will be spending six weeks at Historic Camden’s new colonial brickyard passing along his knowledge of bricklaying and refractory masonry to young men and women taking their first steps as apprentice bricklayers.

As French explained on a recent visit to Historic Camden, “Bricklaying and refractory masonry are ancient professions passed down from one generation to another through a formal apprenticeship. The basic bricklaying skills I learned at the International Masonry Institute over 20-years ago and am now passing on to a new generation of bricklayers are the same skills taught over 250 years ago in colonial Camden.

French feels the advantage of a 21st century pre-apprentice bricklayers program being taught at Historic Camden’s new colonial brickyard, is that student will be exposed to the history and fundamentals of brickmaking, bricklaying and refractory masonry in its purest form.  Something he wished he had experienced as a young apprentice.

The pre-apprentice readiness training program was created by Historic Camden to provide underemployed and unemployed young men and women, that have graduated from youth development programs like “YouthBuild”, with the opportunity to work for large commercial and industrial companies as apprentice bricklayers or certified support labor at a living wage with ample opportunity for advancement within those companies.

The new colonial brickyard is just the first step in a series of trade and horticultural hands-on exhibits coming to Historic Camden.  For example, in the near future, a portion of the Bradley house will be transformed into an 18th century potworks throwing room displaying a working reproduction of an 18th century Staffordshire potter’s wheel, that would have been used by John Bartlam, a Staffordshire master potter from England.  Bartlam moved to Camden in 1772 and was the first potter in Colonial America to manufacture porcelain.

Demonstration and workshops will be offered by Marti Wallace, a local Camden art teacher and potter.  And with the help our new colonial brickyard pre-apprentice masonry students we will be building a reproduction of an 18th century bottle kiln which would have been used by John Bartlam to wood-fire is pottery.