Miller's Pottery, located in Brent, Bibb County, is one of the few remaining traditional potteries in the United States. The pots themselves are made from the Alabama clay of Perry County, and the Miller family's 150-year history of pottery-making incorporates traditions brought from Europe and cultivated in the American South. In recent years, the Millers have added a national clientele of folk art collectors to their long-standing market of local residents and regional hardware stores.
The origins of Miller's Pottery lie in the arrival of Francis LaCoste, a French immigrant who first appeared in the 1850 Census as residing near the present-day community of Montrose in Baldwin County. In approximately 1870, Abraham Miller, a former Union soldier from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, came to work for the LaCoste family, married LaCoste's daughter Frances, and learned the pottery trade. Miller soon moved his new family north to Perry County, in central Alabama, to work in the potteries near Sprott. He later founded his own pottery, where Miller and his sons produced glazed stoneware jugs, churns, and other utilitarian items needed by his rural customers. In the early twentieth century, Abraham's son William took charge of the business, aided by his sons, Hendon and Norman. They became part of a vibrant pottery-making community that also included potteries run by the Ham, Hughey, and Smith families. Norman ran the Norman Miller Pottery in Sprott until the late 1970s.
Hendon Miller died in 1983, and his son Eric took charge of the Highway 5 shop, which he continues to run today. He and his son Steve still collect clay from the same Perry County site that his forefathers visited. The Millers, and their partner, Cousin Allen Ham, have re-introduced glazed stoneware to the shop's repertoire. The family's notoriety and the timeless utility of the pots continue to attract customers and collectors.