Dave Drake Edgefield Pottery Exhibit
July 26 - February 23, 2020
Dave Drake was an enslaved African American potter who worked in the Edgefield, South Carolina Pottery District for forty
years in the 1800s. Based off records it is believed he was born circa 1800 and lived until circa 1870. He was a master potter
known for his command of the English language, and one of his greatest legacies is the poetic verses incised on a number
of his works.
It is thought that Dave learned to write from one of his first owners, Dr. Abner Landrum, who was a newspaper publisher,
potter and physician; however, he could have learned to write in other ways. In 1821-1836 Dave was owned by Harvey
Drake, a co-owner of the Pottersville Stoneware Manufactory along with Abner and Amos Landrum. It is likely that Dave
trained under all three. In 1837 he was working at Lewis Miles's Stoney Bluff Pottery. From 1841 to 1856 Dave's poetic
voice was silent; the biggest gap being from 1846-48, when he did not write the date let alone his name on the vessels.
This could be due a variety of reasons, such as South Carolina's tightening of slave restrictions.