The manufacture of earthenware was one of the
earliest industries at the Rapids. William H. FENTON, came into this county
with his father, Jacob Fenton and established a pottery between First and
Potters Alley took its name from this pottery. After the
death of his father in 1822, Fenton moved his pottery establishment to
what is now Fluvanna, to be nearer to the clay used, The Fentons father
and son were engaged in the manufacture of this ware from 1814 to 1826,
At which time Fenton took as his partner Samuel WHITTEMORE.
In a letter received from Henry A. Whittemore, a short time since,
states that " My father and family arrived in Jamestown at noon,
May 5, 1822, and stopped at a tavern kept by Solomon JONES, for dinner
and at the evening they reached the Point (Fluvanna) where William Fenton
was carrying on a pottery business and where Mr. Smith was keeping a tavern.
Mr. Fenton soon learned that Mr. Whittemore was a potter, and insisted
on himself and his wife being his guests for the night. The
next morning Mr. Whittemore found his horse very lame, and was detained
several days on that account. Fenton had a kiln of ware nearly ready
for burning, and as his help was sick, induced Whittemore to remain a few
days longer and assist him to complete and burn the kiln. Before
the kiln was completed, Fenton and Whittemore entered into a partnership
which continued nearly twenty years."
Fenton and Whittemore turned out a kiln of ware worth from
$200 to $250 every two weeks. The clay of which they made their ware, dug
from the lake about 300 feet above what was then known as SAMMIS'S Point,
now as PRENDERGAST Point.
Fenton and Whittemore, having given up the pottery business,
Fenton returned to Jamestown in 1839, and for many years was the principal
justice of the peace of the town.
Whittemore built a hotel from time to time which he enlarged.
It was strictly a temperance house. Whittemore may be called the
originator of the idea that Chautauqua Lake is an excellent place for a
His house was in summer filled with guests for many years
before anyone else entertained the idea. This pioneer summer resort on
chautauqua Lake, since the death of Samuel Whittemore in 1874 , has been
conducted by his son.
Samuel Whittemore was postmaster at Fluvanna for
nearly 48 years.