Manufacturer Notes: John Neff Ebey

1825-1832 Sangamon County, Springfield

1832-1833 Scott County, Manchester

1833-1855 Brown County, Ripley

1855-1855+ Scott county, Winchester (?) 

1857-1857+ Champaign County, Urbana John N. Ebey & Son

1859-1860 Chapin, Morgan County

1861-1864 Scott County, Winchester John N Ebey & Co.

1864-1866 Green County, White Hall, John N. & L. C Ebey 
1866-1870 Green County, White Hall, Ebey & Brother

1830 Illinois, Sangamon County Census

John Eby 4 free white people

1840 Illinois, Brown County Census

J. N. Ebery 14 free white people

1850 Illinois, Brown County, Township 1 N R 2 W

1036 1041 John Ebbey           45 M     Potter 1500    Va
                     Rebick                  44 F                              Ohio
                     George W. "        18 M      Potter              Ill
                     John V. "              16 M                               "
                     Ellenor "               15 F                                "
                     Harriet "               13 F                                "
                     William H. "         10 M                               "
                     Bertra "                  8 F                                "
                     Charles Bond "     3 M                               "
                     Rebeck Ann "      11/12 F                         "
                     Henry Warnick     20 M   Potter                Indiana

1860 Illinois, Morgan County, Bethel

1163 1133 John Ebbey            54 M Potter 1000 100 Penn
                     Rebecca "             53 F                               Ohio
                     Elizabeth E "         22 F                               Illinois
                     Harriet F "             20 F                               "
                     William H. "          19 M  Potter                   "
                     Barbary A. "         17 F                                "
                     Charles B. "         15 M                                "
                     Rebecca A. "       12 F                                "
1865 Illinois Census, Green County, White Hall

John Eby Total 3 persons

1870 Illinois, Greene County, White Hall

89 89 Ebbey J N          64 M W    Stone Ware Manuf 3000 500 Pennsylvania
           Rebecca            63 F W      Keeping house                        Ohio
           Angeline            19 F W      at home                                      Illinois
90 90 Ebey C. B.         23 M W    Stone Ware M        1600  400  "
           Martha                24 F W     keeping house                            Ohio
           Florence               2 F W                                                          Illinois

IRS Tax Records

1863 Dec 1 Eby John N & Co. Winchester Manufs of Pottery Ware B 58
1863 Dec 31 Eby John N & Co. Winchester 2000 Gall Pottery Ware Dec 210.00 3 A 58 6.30

1864 Jan 31 Eby John N & Co. Winchester 3200 Gall Pottery 256.00 3 A 58 7.68
1864 Feb 29 Ebey Jno N & Co. Winchester 6000 Gall Pottery Manf ??? Feb 480.00

1865 May 1 Eby Jno N & L. C. Whitehall Manufacturers 219 10.00
1865 June 30 Eby Jno N & L. C. Whitehall Pottery Ware Manuf 105 5000 Gals 400.00 6% 24.00
1865 July 31 Eby Jno N & L. C. Whitehall Pottery Ware Manuf 105 3000 Gals 340.00 6% 14.40
1865 Aug 31 Eby Jno N & L. C. Whitehall Pottery Ware Mnfs 105 Estimate 300 6% 18.00
1865 Aug 31 Eby Jno N & L. C. Whitehall Penality for failure to report 150 6% 9.00

1866 April 30 Eby J. N & L. C. Whitehall Pottery Ware Mft 105 592 6% 35.52
1866 April 30 Eby J. N & L. C. Whitehall Failure to report 296 6% 17.76
1866 May 31 Eby & Bro Whitehall Pottery Ware Mft Erroneous return of 106 6% 6.36
1866 May 31 Eby & Bro Whitehall Penality for 106 6% 17.76
1866 June 30 Eby & Bro Whitehall Pottery Ware Mft 105 900 6% 54.00
1866 September Ebey & Co. Naples Pottery Aug OS, 33 6000 36g 2 1/2% 9.23

Potters Ware / established in Springfield, near the public square, a potter's ware manufactory; and will be able to supply all others in his line of business on good terms. Wanted -- in exchange for ware, clean cotton and linen rags: For which two and a half cents per pound will be allowed. Most kinds of country produce will also be received in exchange for ware: Signed John Neff Ebey, Springfield, November 10, 1831

Sangamon Journal (Springfield, Illinois) November 10, 1831

Illinois Land Purchase Records

Ebey John Nee March 14, 1833 $125.00 5,000 acres Township 12N Range 12W

From 1st OCTOBER, 1837, TO 31ST DECEMBER, 1837.

At what office | State | By whom paid | To whom paid | 

Ripley | Illinois | John N. Ebey | John N. Ebey |

Public Documents Printed By Order of The Senate of The United States (Washington, Blair & Rives, 1839) 

The following is a list of letters remaining in the Post Office at Burlington, Iowa on the 30th of September 1843.

Ebey, John N.

Iowa Territorial Gazette and Advertiser (Burlington, Iowa) October 14, 1843

Brown County entitled to 8 votes, has present John Means, Wm. Stewart, James Klith, Benoni Parks, John Sides, Dr. Rockwell, John Lomax and John N. Ebey.

The Daily Whig (Quincy, Illinois) August 6, 1852

John N. Ebey & Son, manufacturers and dealers in every variety of Stone and Earthen Ware, fire brick, draining pipe, stone washboards

Urbana Union (Urbana, Illinois) April 9, 1857

JOHN N., born Sept. 10, 1805, in Huntington county, Pa., raised in Franklin county, Ohio, and came to Sangamon county Nov. 15, 1825, in what is now Woodside township. He married May 28, 1826, to Mary Brunk, sister to George Brunk. They have ten living children, LEONIDAS C., MARIA J., GEORGE W., JOHN V., ELIZABETH E., WILLIAM H., was killed at the battle of Belmont, Mo., Nov. 7, 1861. BARBARA A., ANGELINE B., and CHARLES B. Nearly all the living children are married. Mrs. Rebecca Ebey died June 2, 1873, and John N. Ebey resides at Whitall, Greene county, Ill.

Power, John Carroll; History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, Edwin A Wilson & Co., 1876)


The following article is clipped from the Republican, under date of Jan. 7, 1882: 

"From the veteran potter, J. N. Ebey, we learn some hitherto unpublished facts, relating to the early history of the pottery business in the vicinity of White Hall. He writes substantially as follows: In the fall of 1827, I first passed over the ground where White Hall now stands. I was then manufacturing earthenware in Sangamon county. Michael Baker, formerly and since a citizen of White Hall, who was working for me and learning to turn ware, informed me that there was fine white clay in that vicinity. I loaded an ox wagon with ware. drove over the beautiful, but unimproved intervening prairies to Kinkead's Point, some 10 miles east of Carrollton. I sold the ware to A. M. Kennett, father of Mortimer Kennett, since mayor of St. Louis. Thence I went to the little pottery run by William Heath, father of N. P. Heath, since deceased, on the land now owned by Nancy Evans, south of S. M. Henderson's present residence. Heath built the first kiln, and made the first ware ever manufactured in Greene county. The second kiln was built west of Simeon Ross' present residence. 

Heath was using what was known as the Ross clay. I took a part of a load of the clay home with me for painting purposes on common pottery. In 1832, while yet in Springfield, I became very anxious to manufacture stoneware. I tested all the clay in the vicinity, with a proportion of the Greene county clay, and all except the latter was a failure. That proved so encouraging, that in 1833, I went to the little village of White Hall, got the numbers of the clay land, and went to Edwardsville and entered it, and in April moved into the front room of a little house near where the old M. E. church stands. Dr. William Holliday occupied the front room. I bought an old log cabin, moved it to the lot now owned by Dr. Chapman, and there turned the first stoneware made in Greene county. I had no kiln, but I hauled the green ware to Edward Heath's redware kiln, then used by Michael Baker, and there burned the first stoneware ever burned in the county. It was a very good, common article. I sold part of it to Joshua Simonds, who sold dry goods in a small tenant house, near the present site of the post office. From this time until 1864, a period of 31 years, but little was done in the way of manufacturing stoneware, and from that date the history of the business is familiar to the people of White Hall, and the state at large." 

Hill and Prindle are the present representatives of the old pottery, instituted in White Hall, in the fall or winter of 1864, by that pioneer of the potteries of this section of the state, J. N. Ebey. At the time he was running it, it was a small affair. He continued for some five years, when he disposed of it to Hubbs, Moore & Boone, who ran it about a year, when W. W. Hubbs became a sole proprietor. In 1873, George Hill succeeded Mr. Hubbs, operating the same until 1879, when L. T. Prindle purchased a half interest in the concern......

Ruckel's pottery was established by Charles Ebey, the son of the veteran potter of White Hall, John Ebey. He was succeeded by Murphy & Bates, but with the later retiring, L. C. Murphy carried on the business until Oct. 1878, when D. C. Banta became the proprietor. On January 1, 1883, A. D. Ruckel, the present owner, came into possession, and ha continued therein ever since. The institution has a capacity of turning out 200,000 gallons of ware a year, but is not driven to its extreme limit now. The plant is worth about $2,000.

History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois (Springfield, Continental Historical Co., 1885)

One of the most prominent of the early settlers was John N. Ebey. He was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, and migrated to Ohio when he was a young man. While here he married Rebecca Brunk. In 1828, he moved to Illinois and settled in Sangamon county, where he remained until 1832. He then moved to Scott county, and two years later came to Ripley. He was a potter by trade, and while hauling his wares from his place in Scott county to Rushville, he chanced to stay over night with the pioneer, O'Neal. During the conversation in the evening, which related to his calling, the manner of manufacture, and the kind of clay necessary to the same, some one present stated that he had discovered from a tree turned up by the roots in the neighborhood, a clay that fairly answered the description given by Mr. Ebey. On the following day Mr. E. was taken to the place mentioned, and, on investigating it, was found to be a superior quality of potters' clay. Mr. Ebey returned home, and immediately commenced preparations to remove to Ripley, which was effected the same year, 1836. A shop and kiln were soon erected, and the first, pottery manufactured in the town was taken from the kiln late of the same year. This was the starting point that has made this town so famous as one of the most extensive manufacturing towns of pottery in the west. 

When Mr. Ebey moved here his family consisted of his wife and four children, L. C, Mariah J., George W., and John V. Several children were afterwards born to the family. He was a public-spirited man, and did much to build up the town. It was he and Mr. F. T. Glenn who laid out the town, and who, a little less than fifty years ago, were the active, driving men of the yet little village of Ripley. In 1855. Mr. Ebey moved back to Scott county, and from thence he went to Green county, where his wife died in 1873. He is yet living with some of his children in various parts of the state, having no fixed abiding place since the death of his wife. He yet relates to his grand-children some of his experiences of early days. One, among his anecdotes is the narrow escape he had from a large panther while living at Ripley. A little east of the town there was what was called a " salt lick," where the deer were in the habit of congregating for the purpose of licking the ground, the water oozing from the hillside being of a brackish character. The hunters would station themselves here on moonlight nights to get a " crack " at the deer as they came in. Mr. Ebey was secreted at this point one night, waiting for a deer to heave in sight, and was soon rewarded with the approach of a fine buck making for the " lick." The tempting game was within easy rifle shot, when Mr. E. prepared to fire. He supposed he was the only hunter for this kind of game in all that solitude. But he had reckoned wrongly, for just as he had brought his rifle to his shoulder, a peculiar noise attracted his attention just over his head. A quick glance discovered a huge panther springing from a tree above him, and about to alight upon his person. Quick as thought he intuitively bent down, and forward, and the animal passed over his head, but in such close proximity that his hat was carried away by the panther. Scared nearly out of his wits, he dropped his gun and ran for home. It was not until the next day that he recovered his hat and gun. The panther did not follow him, but probably contented himself by making a supper of the deer if opportunity presented itself. It is said by the early hunters that the deer in those days were nearly all more or less scarred from the attacks of their formidable enemy, the panther.

Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia, W.R. Brink & Co., 1886 )

Mr. J. N. Ebey began the manufacture of pottery-ware in Chapin in 1859, but not meeting with success, he moved to Winchester, where he is now engaged in business.

Radford, Benjamin Johnson; History of Morgan County, Illinois (Chicago, Donnelley, Loyd & Co., 1878)

In the 30's, John N. Ebey, who was making earthenware (not stoneware) in Sangamon county, came to White Hall and turned the first stoneware ever turned in Greene. county. This was burned in the William Heath red ware kiln, and there was little or nothing more done in this line here for thirty-one years. Soon after the business was revived by Aug. Pierce, D. Culbertson and others. Mr. Ebey removed to White Hall and for several years, he, his sons, John V. and Charles, and his son-in-law, L. C. Murphy, carried on the manufacture of stoneware on the ground subsequently occupied by the Hill & Prindle factory.

Miner, Edward; Past & Present of Greene County Illinois (Chicago, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1905)

Chapin, in Chapin Precinct, is located ten miles west of Jacksonville, at the crossing of the Wabash and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (Formerly Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis) Railroads......

In 1859 Mr. John N. Ebey began the manufacture of pottery ware in the town, which did not prove successful, and the business was discontinued.

Bateman, Newton, and Selny, Paul; Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Morgan County (Chicago, Munsell Publishing Company, 1906)

Selected excerpts from a typed memoir by Mrs. A. F. Worcester in 1960. "The Town Clean Dirt Made Famous - - - Pottery Town." .........My grandfather, John Neff Ebey, pioneer potter, of Dutch parentage, grandfather born Sept. 10, 1805, in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. When three weeks old, his parents moved to near Columbus, Ohio, thence to Springfield, Illinois in 1826. There he married to Rebecca Brunk. He acquired 160 acres of land, there, upon which the state capitol now stands. Our pioneer potter resided at Manchester were my father, John V., was born in 1834. From here he moved to Ripley, where he laid out the town and named it for Ripley, Ohio. The progress of the pottery interest in Ripley is due to his efforts. From Ripley he went to Winchester, then to Chapin, coming to White Hall in 1863.


In Huntington Co. Pa.
SEPT. 10 1805
In White Hall, Ill.
NOV. 20, 1893.
88 Ys, 2Ms, 10Ds.

Go To North American Soda & Beers Home