Seagrove History


The ceramic history of the area begins with the abundant and diverse natural clay deposits found in the vicinity. Native Americans were first to discover this resource and used it for both functional and ceremonial objects. These ancient pieces are among the most important remaining artifacts of early civilization.


The first immigrant potters, mostly English and Germans, arrived in the latter half of the 18th century. Most came to our state from Pennsylvania and Virginia. Though information on these early immigrant potters is sketchy, they probably settled first in the areas closest to the Great Wagon Road, which ran from Pennsylvania to Georgia, and then migrated from there to the Seagrove area. Potters arriving in the Seagrove area in the 1700s were quick to realize the value of the local clay. They first made redware, some plain and some decorated, using clay that fired to a reddish orange color. By sometime in the first half of the 19th century, Seagrove area potters had switched predominantly to making the higher fired salt glazed stoneware

The building of the old Plank Road in the mid 19th century, and later the emerging railroad system, gave potters access to even wider markets and helped to establish Seagroves reputation as a pottery town. These pioneer farmer-potters forged new styles based on their skills and artistic visions, their surrounding natural resources, and the needs of their growing community. Today these early Seagrove area pots are gaining international attention as their value changes from that of utilitarian object to cultural treasure.

To learn more about the history of the Seagrove Area, visit the NC Pottery Center website and plan a visit when you are in the area.