Wautoma Potteries

Pottery was manufactured at two sites south of Wautoma by William (Billy) Mosier, his son Edwin Mosier and John Williams.

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Wautoma Pottery Examples

The glazes of pottery made at the Wautoma locations vary considerably but the color of the clay body is light, not red. It appears that the composition of the clay they used was fired at a higher temperature than earthenware's made elsewhere in Wisconsin. Mosier advertised his wares as "stone ware", but it was earthenware - not nearly as vitrified and durable as pottery made from imported clay with salt glaze. Relatively few pieces of Wautoma pottery have survived.

The potteries of William and Edwin Mosier produced a diversity of wares exhibiting glazes that range from downright ugly to quite attractive. Colors run from yellow, tan, olive brown, grey to black often in combinations...

 

W.D. Mosier - 1855 to 1863

These pieces are stamped W.D. MOSIER and date to about the time that Billy closed the pottery to fight in the Civil War.

W.D. Mosier & Co. - 1866 to 1877

Pieces stamped with the "& Co." were probably made after Billy Mosier and his son-in-law Frank Van Arsdale returned from the Civil War in 1866 until the pottery on the White River closed in 1877. The partners represented by the "& Co." in the stamp may have been one or more of his family members who worked at the pottery: Edwin, Byron, and/or his son-in-law Frank.

Sherds from the Edwin Mosier Site

The sherds shown here were rescued by Mark Knipping before the contents of the waster dump were dug out and used for road fill. Given that the only marked pieces from this site are stenciled Edwin Mosier who may have left the potter by 1880, these photos should be helpful for identifying unsigned Mosier pottery.

No sherds have been recovered from the William Mosier site because it is underwater due to a dam.

Edwin Mosier & Co. - 1866 to 1877

Pieces stenciled in cobalt with "EDWIN D. MOSIER" were probably made between 1877 and 1880. The 1880 census does not show Edwin or Billy living in the area, suggesting that both were gone by then. John Williams continued to operate the pottery for a couple more years after that. That explains the rarity of stencilled Mosier pottery. There are just a handful of them known to collectors today.

J.H. Williams - 1874 to 1882

Williams rented Billy Mosier's pottery on the White river for several years and continued making pottery at the new Edwin Mosier site until 1882. It seems likely that he did not mark his wares given that no pieces have been found marked with his name. Pottery exists today that resembles Mosier's pottery but is unsigned. Some of these were probably made by Williams.

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