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Made by Charles F. Decker
Chuckey Valley, TN
Donated by Richard Decker, 1939
This clay crock with cobalt blue glaze was used to store wine. The inscription reads "C.F. Decker, Proprietor of Keystone Pottery, Chucky Valley, Washington Co., TENN, Sep. 16 1884."
Charles F. Decker was born in Langenalb, Baden, Germany in 1832. He emigrated to the United States around 1850 and worked in the Philadelphia pottery of Richard Remmey. Decker established the Keystone Pottery in 1857 and reestablished it in Tennessee when he moved there in 1857. Decker and his sons, Charles, Jr., William, and Fred produced an enormous amount of pottery which was distributed throughout East Tennessee and into neighboring parts of North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky. A general store and a post office operated adjoining the pottery with crocks and jugs usually selling at ten cents per gallon capacity. The pottery prospered and at one time employed up to twenty-five persons. After the turn of the century, Decker's health began to decline and the Pottery soon ceased production.
This large urn, which has been referred to as Charles Decker's masterpiece, is one of the few pieces with full documentation of its origin. This piece has been a part of the ETSU campus since 1939 when Charles, Sr.'s son Richard placed the crock in the museum located on the top floor of the "new" library building (constructed 1931).