Several families, including Craven, Chriscoe, Cole, Luck, McNeill, Owen, and Teague, immigrated from Great Britain in the middle 18th century to central North Carolina finding soil suitable for farming and clay suitable for continuing their European pottery traditions. They developed a local and regional market for everyday functional items used on homesteads for storage of food and other goods, as well as in clinics for medication. During the early part of the 1900’s the impact of the Industrial Revolution affected the demand for pottery items in the South. Newer forms of containment became available, such as glass and mass-produced ceramic items from factories, leaving the small business traditional potter without a strong market. Even so, a few Seagrove/Westmoore area potters continued making functional pottery during this time, including brothers James Owen and Rufus Owen, father of Ben Owen Sr.
The most common type of kiln used by the early settlers was called a groundhog kiln. It's origin comes from kilns in Germany and England (Cassel and New Castle Kilns), see drawing. This kiln was a long tunnel about 13 to 20 feet. The firebox was at one end and the pottery sat elevated behind. Temperatures would reach from 1800 to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. The groundhog was mostly used for stoneware but at first was used in production of earthenware dishes and storage containers.