Scholla: Christian Link, Stonetown Potter

A letter of inquiry from Minerva W. Kline, Birdsboro, led us to the building in Stonetown, Exeter Township, which was once used as a pottery shop. Mrs. Kline wanted to know more about members of her mother’s family, named Streib, who were employed in that pottery many years ago. The search led us on a merry chase. After inquires in a tavern in Stonersville, in a grocery store in the same place, at the Goodhart home we got our bearings and finally located a neat little dwelling, covered with white colonial shingles which now serves as the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chester A. Bauscher in Stonetown.

From Mrs. Bauscher, a native of Minnesota, we learned several things about the building which has been renovated into a home. On the floor of the living room there is still a footprint, worn into the floor boards by the potter who worked at the wheel which stood near the southeastern window. The ancient rafters in the cellar still bear the inspections and dates placed there by Christian Link and his employees and visitors. We were shown a dark cavernous annex to the cellar which the Bauscher’s discovered only after they lived in the house several years. It is our guess that the potter kept his clay in that arched cave.

But Mrs. Bauscher has not lived in Pennsylvania for many years. She referred us to Mrs. George Kinsey, a neighbor, from whom we learned many more details.

The pottery was operated by Christian Link, a native of Wuertemberg who came to this country during the middle of the last century and died in 1910. After his death the pottery shop was used as a blacksmith shop and later as a Sunday school building. The Bauschers purchased the building from the Union Sunday School Association of Stonetown. For many years an old bachelor named Adam Trevail lived in the upper story of the building. Mrs. Kinsey showed us some of the pieces of pottery which were made in the Link pottery. We learned that the Streibs lived on an adjoining farm and were employed by Link.

From an article written by Guy Reinert of Boyertown, and published in the Historical Review of Berks County (January 1937), we learn that Link made both redware and stoneware. The redware was fired in the lower story and the stoneware was glazed in the upper story. The clay for making redware was dug on the Jacob Guldin farm near Stonetown, but the clay used in making stoneware jugs was brought from New Jersey.

Three of Link’s sons learned the pottery trade but none of them followed it. One of these sons, John still resides in Reading.

Perhaps some readers will examine the pieces of earthenware they own and discover the signature “C. Link,” and then will identify this link with the past.

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One Gallon Stoneware Crock, C. Link Pottery, Exeter. Image Source: http://www.pookandpook.com/cat/2007-09-29/515
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