Wilson Pottery Legacy

The influence of the Wilson potters on the Capote community and the central Texas region was assured because of the dedication they had to their pottery making enterprise.Of equal significance are the individual contributions of Hiram Wilson, Sr. in establishing churches and schools in Capote and in the nearby community of Seguin. The descendants of Hiram and James Wilson are understandably proud of the legacy left behind by their Capote ancestors. Furthermore, the descendants believe in the importance or preserving the legacy so that it might be shared among Wilson family members, students of the history, and the public at large.

In recent years, the attention paid to the Wilson pottery legacy has evolved and is now more far-reaching than could have ever been imagined. In acknowledging the existence of well-preserved pieces of H. Wilson and Company pottery stoneware in museums, galleries, and private collections, questions are asked from whence these magnificent pieces of art were born. Where are the specific site locations where the simple toils of the Capote potters were to become so relevant and command attention in the art world of today?

There are three pottery sites in Capote where kilns were used to fire pottery pieces and where bricks were made to construct the kilns. These sites have been designated in the State of Texas Register of Historic Places as location 41GU441GU5, and 41GU6. Site 41GU6 is the original location of Rev. John McKamie Wilson, Jr.’s Guadalupe Pottery company. Site 41GU5 is the location worked by Hiram, James, and Wallace Wilson. It was here that the H. Wilson and Company stoneware pieces were made. Site 41GU4 is the location of the third site in Capote that was worked by John Chandler, Marion Durham, and James Wilson. Site 41GU4, also referred to as “Site #3”, is the most accessible in today’s Capote Hills area, as it is located on the roadside of FM 466 in eastern Guadalupe County. Its condition was found to be superior to that of the other two sites, and this is what prompted Richard Kinz to approach the Wilson family about the possibility of pursuing a Preservation Trust Fund Grant from the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to help fund the site’s registration.

Richard Kinz, a Seguin-area resident, is a retired surveyor and local historian. He had a keen interest in the Capote Wilson potters and has conducted classes on pottery making on occasion. He was once a Volunteer Archeological Steward for the The Texas Historical Commission, and it was during this time that he went to the Historical Committee during the 1999 Wilson Family Reunion and inquired if there was an interest in taking advantage of the Preservation Grant offered by the THC. LaVerne Britt was the chair of the Historical Committee, and she went to the reunion president, Maurice Wilson, Jr., and to the representatives of each Wilson family branch to get inputs on whether the grant should be pursued. There was overwhelming agreement to move forward with the proposal, and thus the groundwork was laid.

Today, thanks to the tireless work and effort of the Wilson Historical Committee, these sites are recognized by the Texas Historical Commission as historical sites.