FROM WAR TO POTTER’S WHEEL
Have an old ceramic jug or pot sitting at home? It may have been made by a Suttles brother! Brothers George and Isaac Suttles made a curious decision together after the Civil War. Although both Union veterans from Ohio, the brothers left their home state for the former-Confederate territory of Texas and chose to settle around the town of La Vernia. Skilled in the craft of utilitarian pottery (the brothers descended from a family of Irish potters), the Suttles launched into full-scale pottery production, Isaac operating just outside of the La Vernia town limits and George selecting the town center as location for his pottery. The brothers produced functional ware used in everyday household activities and agricultural operations including jugs, jars, spittoons and livestock feed dispensers.
The Suttlers’ story is just one of many of La Vernia’s historic tales. Documents and artifacts about a number of them can be discovered at the La Vernia Heritage Museum. Under stewardship of the La Vernia Heritage Association, the museum features exhibits exploring La Vernia’s turn-of-the-century volunteer fire department, a legacy of La Vernia churches, the community’s life during rail travel, and an exhibition on the local historic Mueller Bridge. In addition to museum objects and artifacts, the Historical Association publishes a compilation of historical data and photographs titled “Lavernia Legacies”. Each issue explores different aspects of this Independence Trail community, including the Suttles and their ceramics. Fortunately, many examples of post-Civil War Texas pottery like those made by the Suttles brothers survive.
La Vernia Heritage Museum
1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, 12 - 3 p.m. and by appointment.