Thursday, February 19, 2009

Evolving Field Camp Details for Summer 2009

I've been getting a number of requests from students for more details about our plans for the field camp during the 2009 excavations at Parowan.  So I thought I would post some of them here:

1. Getting there:
You will have to get yourself to Utah. If people are going to fly, we’ll all rendezvous in Las Vegas at the airport and the project van will bring you all back to Parowan (about 2-2.5 hours). People are welcome to drive their own cars and meet us in Parowan at the designated time. For MTU students- if you are in Houghton in May, you can probably catch a free ride in the MTU vehicle headed to the site. Space will be limited and those who sign up first will get first priority. The same will be true of the return trip.

2. Where you live:  
We will be camping in the mountains above Parowan on the edge of the Dixie National Forest. We are finalizing details right now, but we expect the campground will have pit toilets and spots for tents, but we will bring in water.  There will be no cost to camp at the site, but each student will need their own tent, sleeping bag, and other basic gear.  We will also try to provide some cooking equipment and I'll email a final list of gear and supplies you will need.  If you don't have access to camping gear, I will try to match you with someone who can loan old equipment.

Remember that we are camping in the desert for six weeks.  There will be no electricity in the camp.  There will be no building at the camp in which we can lock things. While we expect to have access to power and secure storage in town, you should not bring a lot of expensive stuff that you won't need- jewelry, electronics, DVDs...  If you can't use it by flashlight or firelight, you probably won't need it.

3. What you eat:
While we will provide some camp cooking equipment, each student will have to buy and cook their own food.  Students usually group together to get this done- including communal buying of groceries, cooking duties, and washing up.  Everyone takes turns and thus also will have some days off.  

4. When you work:
This will be a public archaeology dig.  I have planned our schedule to maximize our availability to guests, visitors, and tourists.  We will generally work 10 days on, 3-4 days off.  This is a fairly common rhythm on archaeology  projects in the west.  Work generally goes 8-3 on the dig site and then evening activities once or twice per week, including discussions, team meetings, and lab activities.  If Utah gives us a blistering hot summer, we'll switch to 'Mediterranean hours' where we wake up and get to work with sunrise and quit by noon.  We will also be available for some evening hours to give tours and talk with visitors, but these times will be very infrequent.

5. When you don't work:
Since we expect to work 10 on 4 off, this means that during the six week field school, you will have three long breaks.  Each break will last 3 or 4 days.  This time will allow people to explore the fabulous landscapes near Parowan.  There are dozens of national and state parks, monuments, recreation areas, and forests to explore.  Here are some links:
-National Parks including Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, and Great Basin National Parks and the Grand Canyon's northern and southern rims, 
-National Monuments and Recreation Areas (Grand Staircase-Escalante, Lake Mead, Glen Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Hovenweep, Rainbow Bridge, Cedar Breaks).
-National and State Forests (Dixie, Fishlake, Kaibab, Wasatch-Cache, Humboldt, Toiyabe, among others) 
-State Parks- there are 22!

Oh, and also Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Lake Mead.

There is a lot to see in Southern Utah!  Readers of the blog can feel free to add their own favorite spots as comments.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

History of the Brampton-area potteries

Janine Mannion-Jones posted a great outline of the history of the potteries in the Brampton area, in the region where Thomas grew up. Her outline is based upon the work of Josie Walters. The site includes photos of the landscape and some example clay work.

Philip Mernick is a collector and a researcher of British stoneware hunting jugs.  His information about Brampton came from Ronald Brown's 1994 article on the potteries of Derbyshire in the Journal of the Northern Ceramic Circle.  He has also worked with the collection at the Chesterfield Museum, with the help of curator Anne-Marie Knowles.  He has published information with some pictures here:

One final link for readers!  This site includes information extracted from Piggots Directory for 1835 and it lists several potteries in the area of Brampton Moor and New Brampton,  including:
Briddon, Samual & Henry. (Plain & Fancy). Brampton Moor.*
Knowles, Luke. Brampton Moor.
Oldfield, Thomas & Co. (Plain & Fancy). Brampton Moor.
Wright, Edward & Son. New Brampton.
Wright, John. Brampton Moor.

The Davenports in Utah

Davenport family histories say that Thomas, Sarah, and their children arrived in Salt Lake City on October 8th, 1852. They left for the Iron Mission pretty quickly after reaching Utah, since they arrived in Parowan on November 4, 1852.

The Davenports took a bit of time to get their house and shop set up, but they fired a kiln of pottery in November of 1853. Almost all of it failed. The same happened at the second firing in 1856 and the kiln was nearly a total loss. The third try was in the spring of 1857 and about 1/3 of the kiln was good. By 1858, they fired with complete success (according to family history, based on a summary written in Thomas's diary). Some time during this period, Thomas also changed the source of his raw material. A traveler told him about a better clay source, which he adopted for his work.

This is what fascinates me about the Davenports' lives-- how did they figure that out? How did he learn about the clays? How did he figure out how to build and operate a kiln? To make glaze from scratch?

Thomas and Sarah traveled to Salt Lake City in late October of 1856 and received their Church endowments the following month. They returned to Parowan in the spring of 1857. I have often wondered if he met with other potters in Salt Lake City during that trip to talk about his technical problems and visit their facilities. A number of English-born immigrant potters had current operations in Salt Lake, including Alfred Cordon, who had been in charge of the Church-supported Deseret Pottery factory between 1851 and its closing in 1853. Alfred Cordon was also one of the bishops in charge of answering inquiries from newly arrived immigrants about the remote settlements (Deseret News 18-Sept-1852, p. 1). I don't yet know where Alfred Cordon was in 1857, however, so we'll see what I can learn.

Thomas may also have interacted with the Danish immigrant potters. Niels Jensen and his three apprentices, Jacob Hansen, Frederick Hansen, and Frederick Petersen, had arrived in Salt Lake City and begun making pottery in the fall of 1852. The potters at Jensen's shop experienced more practical success than the English immigrants who had attempted to set up their factory based upon a the industrial pattern from Stoke-on-Trent. Of course, Thomas and Sarah may also have spent time with Horace Roberts and his family in Provo. Like the Jensen's, the Roberts family had been operating their pot shop since 1852.

Thomas and Sarah took this trip for sacred business related to their Church duties. During their travels, they passed back over the landscape between Parowan and Salt Lake City. I also find it useful to think of them traveling over a technoscape, where they passed nodes of information about potting. I am trying to figure out what role that played in the evolution of Thomas's technical prowess.

Besides working at their pottery, Thomas, Sarah, and their children were active in Parowan's community. They were subscribers to help build the Rock Church, 1867-1870. The family history claims that he was the director of the Parowan branch of the United Order, 1875-1876. The UO was a religious-inspired plan to create utopian communities. The Parowan UO didn't last past one year, however, but Thomas also served the community as alderman, city councilor, and treasurer.

In the 1860s, Thomas and his son William worked with others to try and open a coal vein, which would have been very useful for the pottery, but the deposit didn't work out.

I'm going to be researching descriptions of the family house and property and I'll try to post information about that as soon as I can.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From Brampton to Parowan

I know that people who research family and Mormon history are keenly interested in emigration details, so I've posted the following part of the Davenports' story:

Thomas and Sarah moved with their children to the United States in November of 1849. They all presumably left from Liverpool on November 10, 1849 and arrived in New Orleans on December 24th, 1849. They traveled in the 45th company, aboard the Zetland, under the presidency of Elder Samuel H. Hawkins.

The Davenport family history recounts his trip up the Mississippi by transcribing Thomas's entries in his diary. The family went to St. Louis and then on to Council Bluffs, Iowa, arriving there on May 9th, 1850. They eventually moved to a farm in the Key Creek Branch where they spent about a year while they prepared to travel to Utah.

The Church immigration records say (according to family history) that the family left on June 20th, 1852, for Big Pigeon where they joined the 16th company led by Captain Uriah Curtis. They arrived in Salt Lake City on October 8th, 1852, and left for the Iron Mission pretty quickly thereafter, since they arrived in Parowan a few weeks later on November 4. They went south because community leaders had requested a potter from the Church's leaders.

For the purposes of our archaeological research, this part of the Davenports' story is interesting because there is no indication that Thomas and Sarah spent any time making pottery in Iowa or anywhere else in the United States. They did not have time to learn much about potting while traveling or living on the Mississippi River. Their potting skills brought them from Brampton to Parowan.

The Davenports in England

Over the next few days, I thought I would post some of the information I have gathered about the Davenports. I'll start at their beginnings-- births, marriage, and starting their family in England.

Thomas Davenport
born: April 1, 1815; parish of Brampton, County of Derby, England.
fifth child of Robert Davenport and Ann Jarvis Davenport

Sarah Burrows (Davenport)
born July 24th, 1811; parish Eckington, Derby, England.
fourth child of John Burrows and Charlotte Barber Burrows.

According to family histories, Thomas and Sarah married in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, in 1836. Their children were baptized at St. Thomas in New Brampton. According to online records at Genuki, Thomas and Sarah lived in Brampton Moor and Thomas was listed as "potter" and "working potter". The 1841 census lists them living in New Brampton, not Brampton Moor, and also lists Thomas as a "Pottery M" which some modern Davenport family researchers take to mean "pottery molder" but I think may just be "pottery maker".

According to the family history, these are the key events recorded in the records of the Latter-day Saints:
Thomas was baptized April 21, 1847 and Sarah two weeks later, June 8, 1847.
Thomas was ordained a teacher shortly after baptism and then ordained a priest on September 26th of that same year. The family history gives two dates when Thomas was ordained an elder: March 20th and April 27, 1848.

The Latter-day Saints changed branch designations through time as the membership expanded and contracted. March 20th, 1848, while Thomas was made an elder, he was also appointed as president of the Bolsover branch in Derbyshire. March 6, 1848, he became branch treasurer. In June of 1848, the Holdover and Warley branches were combined into a single unit and Thomas was appointed president of the newly combined branch. Through the rest of 1848, he was mentioned regularly in the records in relation to his missionary efforts both traveling and hosting visiting members. The family history says that the official Church records make no reference to his daily work.

Thomas and Sarah's children born in England before 1849:

William Davenport, b. May 28, 1837, bap. June 6, 1837, Brampton, Derby, England.
Thomas Davenport, b. April 7 1839, bap. May 5, 1839, Brampton, Derby, England.
Died February 16, 1840; buried St. Thomas Church, Brampton, Derby, England.
John Davenport, b. December 17, 1844, bap. January 1, 1845, Brampton, Derby, England.
Sarah Ann Davenport, b. February 14, 1847, bap. March 21, 1847, Brampton, Derby, England.

I'm working with a curator at the Chesterfield Museum, trying to learn more about where Thomas worked making pottery, what his jobs may have been, and if Sarah worked in a pot shop.

In my next post, I'll list the Davenport's immigration information.