increased to nineteen in 1880. In some cases the same man is listd as a potter in one record and a farmer in another, indicating that many potted only part time. Since the United States census lists birthplaces, it can be determined that the potters came from Virginina, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Tenessee, Germany, and Canada. These record also show the birthplaces of the potters' children, thus revealing other places the families had lived before settling in southwest Virginia.
There were numerous marriages between members of potting families, which in effect created dynasties of potters and is probably one of the reasons why much of the pottery from this region is so homogeneous. records show concentration of potters near the towns of Abingdon and Wytheville in Firbinia, both of which were county seats along the Great Road. As such; they attracted many travelers as well a residents of the surrounding region. However, it was probably the large clay deposits near both towns that more than anything else influenced the potters choice of these sites.
Although there are many documentary references to potters and the pottery they produced, there are relatively few surviving examples that can definitely be attributed to this region, and even fewer signed examples. Those unfamiliar with this pottery often confuse it with moravian pottery from Salem (now Winston-Salem), North Carolina, because of the similarity of some of the shapes (see Pls. I, II and Fig. 2). Extensive research has not yet revealed the specific reason for this similarity, although as a whole the pottery made along the Great Road appears to be derived from both English and German for--not surprisingly, in view of the heritage of many of the potters.
Early inventories list earthenware honeypots, jugs, plates, sugar dishes, cream pots, cake molds, and a collander. Most of the pieces found are storage jars in the large bulbous shapes common to the region (see Pls. I-IV, VII), but a few pictures (see Pls. V, IX and Fig. 8), honeypots (perhaps Pl. VIII), jugs (see unusual in Great Road pottery (see Figs. 11-13) have also been found.
Potters Along the Great Road in Virginia and Tennessee