The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update


November 9, 2013

Pioneer life

Historical society exhibit looks at Madison County 1820 to 1850s


“It’s just my idea of what a typical little log cabin would have looked like in the 1830s,” said Knepp.

The current exhibit is almost entirely from Knepp’s personal collection. He’s been acquiring the period items since 1968. Knepp’s avid interest in history drove him to haunt flea markets, yard sales and antique stores. He’s even an old hand at privy digging, having learned the skill of locating old privy sites and excavating them. That’s one of the ways he amassed his extensive collection of antique bottles.

Knepp’s favorite piece among the four full rooms of artifacts is a large bowl exhibiting some unique, almost primitive-looking decoration. It’s the largest piece of what’s known as Mochaware that Knepp has ever come across. Dating to somewhere in the 1820-1830 range, Knepp explained,“It’s a type of pottery that was done with soft paste earthenware. ... It’s a neat piece. There’s nothing like it.”

The collection also includes whale oil lamps, kerosene lamps and Betty lamps. Look for a display of whimsical figurines from the day. Visitors will find a rich display of colorful Gaudyware, blue Staffordshire, sprigware, spatterware, redware and more.

“Quite often, redware was the first manufactured item made in a community,” said Knepp. He has several pieces that were made locally, in Perkinsville. Knepp noted that materials, like clay and wood to burn in the kiln, were readily available for the manufacture of pottery.

“These were probably the first things manufactured in Madison County. ... People needed pottery. It was too heavy to transport very far.”

Check out these items and plenty more in the exhibit that is open for viewing Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Historical Society is located at 15 W. 11th St.

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.

If you go What: Pioneer Era in Madison County exhibit Where: Madison County Historical Society, 15 W. 11th St., Anderson When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday through July 24. Also 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 Cost: Free, donations are welcome. More info: Check out the website at or call 765-683-0052.

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