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Welcome to our news and history blog!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Treasures of the Bruce: a pot from Deacon Potter by Cynthia Ehlinger (Greenwich Time)

This story originally appeared in the Sunday, August 30, 2015 print-edition of Greenwich Time. Click here for the online link. 

With the festivities surrounding the 375th anniversary of the founding of Greenwich coming to a crescendo with the parade on Sept. 27, the search was on to find a historic object from the Bruce Museum collection that would speak to our local roots.
Researching the digital archives, I discovered a photograph of a salt-glazed stoneware flask prominently dated 1789. It seemed like the perfect candidate, but I was surprised to discover the piece is not hidden away in museum storage. The small bottle is displayed in plain sight in the museum’s permanent gallery highlighting the region’s colonial and agricultural history and, fortuitously, is available for all to see. 
A gift of Winfield S. Mills in 1956, the flask is thought to be one of the oldest intact pieces of pottery made in Greenwich. Its creator, Abraham “Deacon Potter” Mead, was an important figure in shaping the town.
Before the Revolutionary War, most fine ceramic items were imported due to British trade restrictions, and colonial potters only were permitted to make the more utilitarian pieces for the kitchen and pantry that were not economical to ship from Europe. 
One of the first stoneware potters in Connecticut, the Dutchman Adam Staats, took on a teenaged Abraham Mead as apprentice at his kiln located just south of the Davis gristmill near the headwaters of Indian Harbor in what is now Bruce Park.

We'd also draw your attention to this clip from YouTube. Click here for the details, and enjoy! 

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