Jefferson County Tidbits
# 31 Stonington
Found this in a pile of old newspaper clippings which were given to me
Katherine Owen Tucker The date of the clipping was not noted.
Little Remains of the Brick Factory:
The fires went out in the kiln at Stonington almost 70 years ago,
and even the tracks of the railroad that hauled the kiln away have
been ripped from the rocky soil.
A century ago Stonington was supplying bricks for communities
across the Deep South, but today the ruins of the company that put the
Jefferson County settlement on the map cast shadows over the piles of
broken brick and rubble.
Stonington was a natural name for the Spanish Land Grant which
Buckner Burch's family acquired in 1794, because outcroppings of
sandstone and clay can be seen in profusion along the ridges and in
the banks that border the old road beds.
Great-grandson Isaac Washington Burch decided to capitalize on the
rocks that had been dulling plows and making the land almost useless
For a quarter century the family had talked about making the bricks
from the clay on the arm, and in the late 1800's Isaac had some
building stone and bricks manufactures. But it was in 1894 before he
got down to serious business.
An account of the company's formation that appeared in the
Evening Post on Feb 26, 1894, said production was expected to begin in
about 60 days.
Drilling had shown a deposit of white clay to be 200 feet deep
hitting thin shale under which was another immense pit of undetermined
depth. The clay was tested in furnaces in Alabama and in some northern
states where it was found to be of a "superior Quality".
Unlike most fire clay, it remained almost white after being burned.
addition to being useful for pottery, the white clay would make fine
ornamental bricks and enhance structures of traditional brick by using
artistically in combination with standard colors, the paper said. The
company also produced vases, flower pots and jugs.
Nearby was a pit of red clay, ideal for making pressed brick, which
were bringing $25. a thousand from the plant that could turn out
40,000 brick each day.
By the spring of 1898, the Evening Post reported that the
Stonington Co. was employing more than a dozen workers who were
"Cheerfully pegging away from day to day with whistle and song".
The fire clay business also was booming. In addition to making
the company shipped the clay in bulk and barrel by the carload to
around the country. A side track of the Little J Railroad make
One didn't have to go far to find that home folks were using
Brick, too. When the Jefferson County Courthouse burned, Stonington
Brick was used in the new building in 1902.
The demand for brick construction began to wane, however, and with
a dwindling market the Stonington Co. ceased production about 1916.
Today only the ruins of the factory remain, located in a field on a
country road about two miles beyond Harriston.
End of Newspaper article