Allen Pottery

Early pottery site located near McDade

    
McDade-in April of 1993, local historians examined what appears to be a very old pottery site.  It was determined to be authentic.  The property is located in the Emmons survey, Lee County (approximately 1 ˝ miles inside the Lee 
County line).  Mrs. Thelma Moore McDavid recalled her father, John Moore familiar with the land, saying he believed it to be the Allen Pottery site.
     Allen pottery is hard to identify because it is hard to find.  Serious pottery collectors of today value their finds of jugs, crocks, jars, and bowls etc of Allen pottery very much and pay well for it.  One way to identify pottery is to use shards by matching shapes, coloring, and finishing glazes, but even at that it is no sure sign; only the experts can identify Allen Pottery.
     The green alkaline glazed shards found there indicate an 1850’s site.  The 6 brick high wall remaining indicates a groundhog kiln.  Shards in the area also indicate a pottery site.  The Knobbs community has been located in three different locations, and this site was the first one.  The Knobbs springs, a good source for water, is nearby and was possibly a good drawing factor for locating a pottery here.  It is probable the post office known as potter’s shop was here.  The landowner at that time was James w. Allen, husband of Sallie C. Dunkin, and son-in-law of Matthew Dunkin.

James Whitfield Allen was born June 24, 1825 in South Carolina and died December 27, 1893.  He is buried in the Knobbs lower cemetery nearby.  His wife Sarah C. Dunkin, daughter of Matthew Dunkin and Hannah Willis was born in 1826.  Their children were:

¨     Samuel Allen-single-died in service

¨     Katherine Elizabeth Allen, wife of Levi James burke

¨     Andrew “Pete” Jackson Allen, husband of Thursday June Gregory

¨     Eliza Ann Allen, wife of pierce Phillips, wife of John Wilson

¨     John Willis Allen, husband of Lavanah Forbes, husband of Minnie Wells

¨     James k. Polk Allen, husband of Jo Ann Tyler

¨     Sally Jane Allen, wife of Jesse Adolph barker

 

     James w. Allen, the son-in-law of Matthew Dunkin, worked as a potter at the Bastrop site and later had a couple of small potteries in the northern part of Bastrop county, near the Yegua creeks.  He had a post office called “potter’s shop” at one of these sites in 1859.
     The glaze Allen used was very light in color and his granddaughters insist that he added salt to the glaze mixture at these sites.  Stoneware pipes were also reported to have been made there  (horne, Catherine Wilson, crossroads of clay p. 103). Stoneware pipes, we are told, were made at the second pottery site known to descendants as being on the barker land.  Barker was another member of this large family.
     Land transactions: Republic of Texas to c.b. Emmons survey 369 acres.  C.B. Emmons to James S. and Mary McGahey 369 acres.  James S. McGahey to James w. Allen 369 acres on February 8, 1873 in Burleson County (Lee County then Burleson county).

JW. Allen estate divided:

          Dora Allen to Jr. Phillips

          John w. Allen to Jr. Phillips

          Louise Allen to Jr. Phillips

          Selma Allen to Jr. Phillips

          WH Allen to Jr. Phillips

          Eliza Allen to Jr. Phillips.

(Lee county deed records volume 24, page 442)

     In 1859, a post office was established at “potters shop” with James W. Allen serving as postmaster.  Allen had a pottery shop near McDade on the marsh branch (Ken Kesselus, Bastrop county 1846-1865).  His office discontinued on October 1, 1956. (1976 bicentennial issue complied by congressman J.J. Pickle).

J.W. Allen was a member of the McDade Masonic lodge #664 (Schulz, Ernestine-then and now)
   As you will see the Dunkins/Duncans, Allens and Taylors were known potters, own their own potteries and settled in McDade area near the good source of clay.