Manufacturer Notes: Darrow & Sons


A few miles north at Baldwinsville was a later and more extensive pott works. In 1845 John Darrow built a small earthenware oven on the north side of the community between the Erie canal and the Seneca River, an area now occupied by facilities of the Niagara-Mohawk Power company. 

Three years later the shop was moved to a spot about one and one-half miles south of the town at a point where a tributary of Crooked Brook crosses the Van Buren Road. This change of location was dictated by the discovery of a substantial red clay bank along the creek. This earth was utilized exclusively in the business until 1852. The Van Buren Town Historian, A. J. Christopher, has excavated the former site of this pottery uncovering a substantial number of redware and stoneware fragments, the latter reflecting the fact that after 1852 the proprietor turned to the production of salt-glazed ware employing a mixture of local earth and Amboy clay. The latter was brought via the Erie canal and Seneca River to a dock on Cooper Street in Baldwinsville and transported to the works by wagon.

Not long after locating on Van Buren Road, John Darrow took his sons Lansing S, and Edwin S. Darrow into the firm. The ware was henceforth marked JOHN DARROW & SONS/BALDWINSVILLE Or DARROW & SONS / BALDWINSVILLE. By the 1860s the pressure of changing fashions in containers and competition from the expanding works at Geddes dictated a modification in methods and products

In 1867 the proprietors installed semiautomatic machinery for the production of flowerpots and utilized their red clay bank to make thousands of green house pots and hanging baskets. Stove thimbles and sewer tile ware also were added to the inventory.

Sometime around 1872 Edwin Darrow dropped out of the firm, which became known as J. Darrow and Son, and then for a brief period Lansing appears to have been sole owner.

There is ware impressed LS DARROW/BALDWINSVILLE. Production at the works was discontinued in 1876.

The jugs and pots made at Baldwinsville most frequently bear cobalt decoration in the shape of lotus or tulip flowers, a motif rare in New York though most common in Pennsylvania. Since the only other kiln in the state that utilized this device to any extent was the Farrar works at Geddes, one suspects that the same potter or group of potters decorated at both places. The Onondaga Historical Association's collection at Syracuse has representative examples from both Baldwinsville and Geddes. 

Ketchum, William C., Jr.; Early Potters and Potteries of New York State (New York, Funk & Wagnalls, 1970).

65 65 John Darrow                51 M Potter
            Eleanor     "                 41 F
            Lansing     "                 22 M Potter
            Charlotte M "              16
            Edwin S.                     14
            Sarah Sandon           16 F
            Samuel Kreanboel     24 M Potter
           Joseph Man                 51 M Potter
            Roby J Bennett          19 F
            Stephan "                      7 M
            Henry S "                     22 M Miller
             Isabel M. "                  23 F

1850 New York, Onondaga County, Van Buren Census

1340 1349 L. S. Darrow       29 M Manuf of Stone Ware 700 300
                    Sarah      "           25 F
                    Rosetta    "            2 F
                    Avery Marsh       10 M
                    E. S. Darrow       24 M Manuf of Stone Ware 700 200
1341 1350 John Darrow        59 M Manuf of Stone Ware 800 400
                     Eleanor   "          50 F
                    John M.    "             8 M
                     Pleg Marsh         85 M

1860 New York, Onondaga County, Van Buren Census P. O. Camillus

393 393 Darrow, Edwin S.      32 M W Potter                3125 350
                 -- Roxanna                26 F W Keeps House
                 -- Nellie                        5 F W
                 -- Jennie                      2 F W
                Reese, Annie             16 F W Dour Servant
                Specht, Christopher  44 M W Labour
394 394 Darrow, Alewson S.   39 M W potter               3125 350
                 -- Sarah A.                 36 F W Keeps House
                 -- Rosetta                   12 F W
                 -- Windsor                    3 M W
395 395 Stocking, Andrew       29 M W Potter
                -- Ellen                         27 F W Keeps House
396 396 Darrow, John              70 M W Potter               2750 350
                -- Elnor                        61 F W Keeps House
                -- John M.                   19 M W Apprentice to Potter

1870 New York, Onondaga County, Van Buren Census P. O. Baldwinsville

1865 Darrow, John & Sons Baldwinsville

IRS Tax Records

The Darrow earthenware pottery, started at Baldwinsville on the north side in 1845, and was removed to its later location near the sulphur springs in 1848, where it was operated by the firm of J. Darrow & Son, until 1876. In 1852 it was changed from an earthenware to a stoneware pottery.

Bruce, Dwight H.; Onondaga's Centennial Gleanings of a Century (Boston, The Boston History Company, 1896)

The Darrow pottery was started in 1845 on the Baldwinsville north side. In 1848 it was changed to its later location near the sulphur spring, where it was run under the firm of J. Darrow & Son, until 1876. It was an earthenware pottery until 1852 and then became a stoneware pottery, the clay used being brought from New Jersey.

Scisco, Louis Dow; Early History of the Town of Van Buren Onondaga Co. N. Y. (Baldwinsville, W. F. Morris Publishing Co., 1895)

L. D. Scissco of Washington, D. C. has made a correction on the "Town of Warners" listed on p. 365 of the July issue. He says: "I recall being taken to the Darrow pottery when a child. It was a few hundred feet outside the south line of Baldwinsville village, where the road to Syracuse takes off from the southward road. It was Van Buren, not Warners." [This undoubtedly is the same pottery mentioned by Miss Simpson.]

Flick , Alexander Clarence; New York State Historical Association Quarterly Journal (New York State, 1919) 

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