Stamped on the upper left loop handle of this whiskey jug [Double Handled Whiskey Jug 1986.65.29] are the initials “FLB,” identifying marks of the Georgian potter, Fate Becham. The 1850 census in Crawford County identified Fate’s father, “Wash,” and his four uncles as “Jug makers,” a statistic that also applied to eighteen potteries operating in the same county before 1907. With the widespread destruction of livestock during the Civil War, the corn harvests shifted from feed to whiskey, which required enormous quantities of stoneware for its storage and sale. Potters of eastern Crawford County, such as the Bechams, specialized in liquor jugs, which were sold as fast as they could be made. Wash’s sons, Fate and Jack, continued the family tradition until Prohibition curtailed the demand for jugs. Fate stopped working as a potter around 1918.
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)
Franklin Lafayette “Fate” Becham was a jugmaker from eastern Crawford County, Georgia (Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990). The loss of livestock during the Civil War reduced the demand for animal feed, so corn harvests were used to make whiskey, which was stored and sold in large stoneware jugs. Fate and his brother Jack produced large liquor jugs until the 1920s, when demand fell after Prohibition began.