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A Pottery Tradition

Since the late 1700s, the Edgefield District, located in present-day Aiken and Edgefield Counties, was well known for the production of distinctive pottery. Known as alkaline-glazed stoneware because of its characteristic glaze and the hardness of the clay, Edgefield pottery has become a symbol of the Southern Folk Pottery tradition. It comes in a variety of shapes, but jugs and pitchers are the most common. Manufacturers differentiated their pottery from competitors' in subtle ways such as the shape of handles, rims and necks.

Face jugs are particularly suitable to an individual style. These are jugs decorated with applied eyes, noses, ears, and facial expressions. They were first made for amusement, but today, jugs by certain makers are highly sought after by collectors.

Mark Baynham

Mark Baynham and his six sons (left to right). Back: Clifton, Elmo, Mr. Baynham, Hugh, and J.A. Front: Mark and Roy (Image courtesy North Augusta Historical Society)

Around 1900, Mark Baynham founded the South Carolina Pottery on the south side of Georgia Avenue, near the 13th Street Bridge. Baynham’s father had established a successful pottery operation in Trenton, Edgefield County. Having switched to Albany glaze, the South Carolina Pottery produced thousands of jugs for the South Carolina Dispensary system. As the twentieth century arrived they also began production of plainer but more commercially lucrative products, such as terra-cotta flowerpots.

Mark Baynham was respected and known for his generosity throughout the community. One of his many acts of generosity was delivering groceries to less fortunate families. He made these grocery deliveries after dark so he wouldn't be noticed.

By 1929 a series of floods continued to inundate the lower end of Georgia Avenue. Baynham decided to move the South Carolina Pottery to higher ground. In 1950 the pottery was sold; it was relocated back to the river bottom and operated until 1977.