From Warrior to Renowned Artisan

by | Feb 14, 2017 | Confederate, Randolph

(Source: Contributed by Roger H. Futrell)

William Henry Hancock (1844-1923)[1] of Randolph County, North Carolina, was a Confederate veteran who worked as a potter in the eastern Piedmont between 1865 and 1900. Examples of his pottery are in the collections of The Mint Museum at Charlotte.

Hancock enlisted in the Confederate States Army from Randolph County.[2] He served as a private in Company B, 2nd Battalion, NC Infantry. He fought at Gettysburg.[3]

Following the war he worked as a potter in Moore County. He worked at J.D. Craven’s shop in Sheffield’s Township in 1870.[4] He was featured in an article in the Encyclopedia of North Carolina which indicated he worked as a potter for both J. Dorris Craven and E.A. Poe & Co., of Fayetteville.[5]

Hancock moved frequently. He and his family lived at Bensalem in Moore County in 1880.[6] They were in Johnston County, where he worked in “manufacturing,” in 1900.[7] They were in Montgomery County in 1910.[8] He was with his son, J.W. Hancock, in Chatham County in 1920.[9]

William H. Hancock died at the Confederate Soldiers Home in Raleigh on Feb. 21, 1923. He was buried at Star in Montgomery County.[10]

The writer has a stoneware storage jar made by W.H. Hancock, c.1870. The piece has a flanged rim and coggled decoration on its shoulder. It is impressed: “W.H. Hancock.” It was likely made in Moore County, North Carolina.

[1] North Carolina death certificate no. 176; Ancestry.com.

[2] “Civil War Volunteers from Randolph County,” Randolph County, NC GenWeb.

[3] “Soldiers & Sailors Database,” NPS.

[4] 1870 US census, Moore Co., NC, p. 602A.

[5] David Egner, “Pottery,” NCPedia (2006).

[6] 1880 US census, Moore Co., NC, p. 204B.

[7] 1900 US census, Johnston Co., NC, p. 7B.

[8] 1910 US census, Montgomery Co., NC, p. 17A.

[9] 1920 US census, Chatham Co., NC, p. 9B.

[10] North Carolina death certificate no. 176.

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