Attached to the dish illustrated in figure 1 is a note written by genealogist and historian W. C. Hinshaw and dated March 27, 1959, in which the object’s descent through six generations of a North Carolina Quaker family is cited. The original owner appears to have been Hannah Piggott Davis (1774–1812), wife of Charles Davis (1771–1850) and daughter of Benjamin Piggott (1732–1818) and Mary Hadley (1739–1810). According to tradition, the dish was to be given to the next child named Hannah in the family.
Hannah Piggott Davis and her family attended Cane Creek Friends Meeting in present-day Alamance County, North Carolina. Before her death in 1812, she presumably gave the dish to her daughter Hannah Davis (1804–1881), who in 1822 married Stephen Hinshaw (1797–1877), a member of Holly Springs Meeting, in Randolph County, North Carolina. Hannah Davis Hinshaw subsequently gave the dish to her daughter Hannah Hinshaw Bean (1842–1881). Upon Hannah Bean’s death, the dish passed to her niece Hannah Cox Phillips (1847–1922).
The Hannah dish is lead-glazed and decorated with brown, white, and green slip. The most unusual feature is the brown slip swag that extends from the edge of the rim, crosses the marly, drapes down into the cavetto, then rises back in nine repeats. The swag was applied first, followed by the brown concentric lines, then the white wavy line and green and white dots. The dish is coated with a lead glaze containing iron and/or manganese, which, where the glaze is thin, produced a matte purplish tint. Where the glaze is thickest, the surface is glossy and a mottled honey color. Similar glazing can be observed on dishes from the Dennis potteries in New Salem, North Carolina, the likely production site for this remarkable find (fig. 2).
Dish, attributed to the Dennis potteries, New Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1832. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13". (Private collection; unless otherwise noted, photos by Gavin Ashworth.)
Dish, attributed to the William Dennis pottery, New Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1832. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)
Calvin Hinshaw, “The ‘Hannah’ Dish,” March 27, 1959, typed card, private collection. William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 6 vols. (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978), 1:349, 362.
Hinshaw typed card. Hinshaw, Encyclopedia, 1:468, 475, 484, 673.
See Hal E. Pugh and Eleanor Minnock-Pugh, “The Dennis Family Potters of North Carolina,” pp. 140–67 in this volume.