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​Stoneware Cooler 

Harman Brothers Whisky Merchants, Staunton Virginia
​Stoneware Cooler

A.P. Donaghho & Son
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Possibly Dan Mercer (1865-
Circa 1900 (Marked “Donaghho Pottery” in use after 1900).
30.5” x 19”

The applied block lettering and decoration of children gambling on this rare West Virginia tanware, attributed to Dan Mercer, have never been seen before.

Harman Bros Whiskey Merchants Staunton was established in 1890 and advertised as the “Great Mail-Order Liquor House.” Founded by John T. Harman and his brother E.M. Harman their storefront was on the northwest corner of Greenville Avenue in downtown Staunton. A grainy period photograph shows the store with a similar cooler placed on an upturned whisky barrel by the front door.

​In 1870 AP (Alexander Polk) Donaghho bought an existing pottery in Parkersburg, West Virginia and produced many household articles including crocks, jugs and jars and flower pots. Based on known work, this cooler is attributed to Dan Mercer, who began his career with Dohaghho in 1899 listed as a new employee and worked there until the pottery closed in 1904-1905.

The final image shows another example of large scale work by the Donagho pottery. On the left is Dan Mercer, the central figure is Mr. Donagho and Dan Cox is on the right hand side.