Northeast Ohio Tourism
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East Liverpool

This bit of land along the bend in the Ohio River and where Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia come together was officially purchased by Col. Isaac Craig in 1796. This was a common practice that officers in the American Revolution were given tracks of land in lieu of wages not paid during the revolution. Some officers then sold their claims to others, making them large landholders along the western frontier.

Four years later, Col. Craig sold 1100 acres of land along the western side of the river to Thomas Fawcett of Jefferson County, Ohio. Fawcett had already been living on a parcel of the land when he purchased it. The land was described as situated northwest of the Ohio and above the mouth of the Kentucky River. Fawcett paid cash to Col. Craig at a cost of about $3.35 per acre.

Their first task was to build a log cabin, and then they soon built a flour mill, a saw mill and another flour mill. Confident the area would be prosperous, Fawcett began to lay out the beginnings of a new town that he named St. Clair, in honor of Arthur St. Clair, a prominent developer of the Ohio Territory. Since Thomas Fawcett and his family were Quakers, the new town would become a Quaker Settlement.

With the influx of new families, the settlement began to be called Fawcettstown. However, the popularity of the village was short-lived and did not thrive. In the 1830s the name of the faltering village was changed to Liverpool. When it became known that mail was already being delivered to another township in Ohio named Liverpool, the official name of the 1834 incorporated town became known as East Liverpool.

On July 1, 1800, the 57 year old Thomas Fawcett purchased approximately 1100 acres from Mr. Craig. Fawcett, his wife and eight children settled in an area with few residents that could have been classified as a frontier. Although Fawcett named the town St. Clair, in honor of Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory at the time, it was christened Fawcettstown by its residents and other local people. The town was named Liverpool by a nostalgic English potters who migrated here and in 1834 incorporated as East Liverpool because of a town in Medina County, Ohio already named Liverpool.

How East Liverpool Became
the Pottery Capital of the World

The story goes that in 1840 James Bennett, a 28 year old potter had tried but failed to make a living for himself as a potter in Indiana. A few years before that he and his wife arrived at Troy, Indiana a small town by any standards located on the Ohio River some 300 miles past Cincinnati. When they arrived there was already a small pottery business here being run by another English immigrant. Over the next few years, the Bennetts lost 2 children and their employer made the decision to close shop and move back to England. With no where else to go, they decided to head back east in hopes of finding a better job, and better luck.

James had been in America for just 5 years. He was raised around Staffordshire, England where, as a youth he learned the pottery trade. Instead of spending the rest of his life working up through the trades until he became a master potter, he decided to leave his family take his skills to America, where fortunes seemed available to anyone willing to work hard enough.

Over the next five years he married and moved west eventually settling in Troy where he found work as a potter for another Englishman just setting up shop. During the first 2 years in Troy. When disease and stress sent his employer back to England, he left his small business to James, but after a year he knew this wasn't going to work. He and his wife decided to head back to the east coast where he hoped to find employment, trusting that the failing economy of the 1830s was over. Once again they boarded a river boat headed back to Pittsburgh.

After walking Stepping off the river boat he walked about he took note of the soil, a thick fine clay that he had seen before, back in England. James recognized the opportunity that was before him and decided to take advantage. The clay was exactly the type needed for making all types of pottery including fine porcelain. In time the area supported over 200 pottery companies and was making 50% of America's ceramic output. East Liverpool became the Pottery Capitol of the Nation.

Today, directly across the river in the small town of Newell, is where the world famous Homer Laughlin China Co. is located, perhaps best known for its line of Fiesta Ware.