Our Infamous History
"I saw a leppard, & a lions face,
then I felt the need of — Grace."
-Dave, November 3, 1858
Dave was born into slavery around 1801. He may have had up to five owners throughout his life, but it is known that following the death of owner Harvey Drake in 1832, Dave became the property of B. F. Landrum.
In 1805, Abner Landrum developed the Pottersville area of Edgefield, which started out as a small pottery yard inhabited by around 15 slave and journeymen families. Soon it grew into a successful commercial stoneware business, unique for their safe and water-proof alkaline glaze.
Old Edgefield Pottery has become one of our country's most unique and sought after art forms, but most unique is Dave. His work is remarkable in its usually extremely large size and markings. His signature, dates, and inscribed poetry are not just beautiful, they are rare for the time period. He pieces are most often identified by a horse-shoe symbol, a slash mark, LM (Lewis Miles, another factory owner), simply Dave, or poems.
After freedom came, he adopted the last name of Drake (after his first owner). He remained here in the Edgefield District until his death around the 1870s.