Courtesy of: Jane McCann Walsh

A Found Family Treasure
Story of an Old Cracked Pot
Jane McCann Walsh

Paraphrased by Audrey Hancock

Jane indicated, "As I work more extensively on some of my more distant 'female lines' I find some fascinating connections. The DILLINER surname provides one." Jane researches information on the DILLINERs of Green County, Pennsylvania.

In the book, Stoneware of Southwestern Pennsylvania by Phil Schaltenbrand on p. 66 this information was found:
"Another New Geneva potter who took advantage of a strong demand for practical stoneware articles in the 1870s and 1880s was Louis Stantz, who partnered with one of the Dilliners in a small stoneware business around 1876-1877. Pieces marked 'DILLINER & STANTZ, NEW GENEVA, PA' are known to exist but are very uncommon. Between 1865 and 1885 several stoneware companies rose and fell in New Geneva."

Louis Stantz/Stentz was 2nd cousin, 3x removed to Jane; and a 3rd great- grandmother was a STENTZ (also known as STANTZ).

Jane wrote, "Received an e-mail one day from my STENTZ cousin/research colleague in Illinois who had just learned of L. F. Stentz's short career as a potter and so I picked up my book on local pottery, which is NOT indexed, and immediately found the above reference to Louis Stantz. It was amazing! ... the most dramatic part was that I'd just received that email from the Stentz colleague/cousin and had just found the citation in the pottery book when the doorbell range, taking me from the office to the front door. That's when I looked again at the pot. So, it was really my Illinois cousin's 'find.' "

While standing at her front door, Jane said, she "...stood for a moment with my head bowed,...while my eyes were absently resting on an old pot I'd salvaged. Several years earlier, I had helped a first cousin dispose of her father's home's contents. This crock had been in his basement in a storage room with dried soil my aunt had apparently placed there decades earlier,...  The crock had a crack across the bottom. My cousin said she'd toss it, but I exclaimed that it was a piece of local pottery (the Dilliner name was readable), and therefore, it had some historical significance, at least to me. She said, 'Take it away then!' I couldn't make out the second name. Yes, two years later, I suddenly realized that this pot was a Dilliner & Stantz crock. The second name was suddenly quite clear! It is a butter crock, poorly made, with a dimple on the side, but now it rests on the raised living room hearth instead of near the front door!"

E-mail:  Audrey (Shields) Hancock

Created: 14 September 2004
Revised: 19 September 2004