South Amesbury’s Red Earthenware & Stoneware Production


By Justin W. Thomas

Red earthenware production in South Amesbury (Merrimacport), Massachusetts dates to the eighteenth century, supplying households in the small corner of northeastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and probably other spots in New England, with everyday utilitarian wares.  This multi-generational family business lasted for more than 100 years, making it one of the longest standing potteries in New England. The most famous of those employed in South Amesbury was William Pecker, who operated a pottery during the circa 1791-1820 period. Although, it is not widely known that Pecker was one of New England earliest potters to produce red earthenware and stoneware, perhaps only the second business to accomplish this feat in New England behind the Parker Pottery in Charlestown, Mass. in the 1740s. This book is the first of its kind to explore South Amesbury’s pottery production, the aesthetic appeal of these wares, archaeology and closely examine the stoneware manufactured by William Pecker.


Justin W. Thomas is resident of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and a collector, researcher and writer about American pottery production from the seventeenth through the early-twentieth century. He had studied at archaeology departments, museums and private collections across the country, publishing many articles about American potteries in regional and national publications. Thomas was a guest curator at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, assembling a temporary exhibit of locally made pottery from the Colonial period through the early-twentieth century. He also helped to write the exhibit catalog, Potters on the Merrimac: A Century of New England Ceramics. He is also the author of The Beverly Pottery: The Wares of Charles A. Lawrence, The Moses B. Paige Company: The Last of the Peabody Potteries and The Dawn of Independence, the Death of an Industry: The Pottery of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

This book will ship in late April/early May.