WM Pogue Fruit Jar

Provenance: Darrell Plank Collection

Here is a very early, circa 1855, fruit jar with a very interesting shape and form. The “Wm Pogue jar For Preserving Fruit” has a pushed-down style grooved-ring wax sealer mouth with a finish made for a tin cap that would be sealed with wax. The clear, aqua, and light blue glass quarts have a pushed-up black iron pontil scar. They are very rare and cherished by collectors.

One side of the jar is embossed ‘WM. POGUE’ with a 5-pointed motif separating the embossed ‘BRIDGETON N.J.’ copy. The opposite side is embossed ‘FOR PRESERVING FRUIT.’

William Pogue

William Pogue was born in Salem County, southern New Jersey in 1814. In the 1860 United States Federal Census, we see him living in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey which is embossed on his jar. Pogue was listed as a tin manufacturer which is interesting as his tin would have been used for his glass jar lids. This was probably his lead-in for moving into mercantile as the 1860 advertisement below shows him selling stoves, tin roofing and spouting, and other tinware.

In 1863, William Pogue would partner with Daniel Fithian in Bridgeton, N.J. selling fine family groceries. In 1861, the concern was called Fithian & Hood (Eden M. Hood) and they were located on “Commerce Street, first door west of surrogate’s office.” Eventually, Pogue would replace Hood. The new concern specialized in fruits, vegetables, cheese, coffee, sugar, tea, milk, pickles and sauces, and other typical items you might find in a local grocery store. The Louisville, Kentucky advertisement from 1863 shows them selling steamed fresh oysters and many other fine items put up in hermetically sealed cans.

On April 1, 1865, the steamboat Bertrand, a sternwheeler bound from St. Louis to Fort Benton in Montana Territory, hit a snag in the Missouri River and sank twenty miles north of Omaha. The crew removed only a few items before the boat was silted over. For more than a century thereafter, the Bertrand remained buried until it was discovered by treasure hunters, its cargo largely intact. On this boat the following cargo was found:

Strawberries. There were nine cases of strawberries. Each case contained two dozen 2-pound cans, and there were two identifiable canners: Numsen, Carroll & Co., 18 Light Street, Baltimore, and 2 dozen cans Fresh Strawberries from Fithian & Pogue, Bridgeton, N.J.

William Pogue married Martha (Riley) Pogue (1822-1872) on January 3, 1854. His son was William Jr. who was 18 in 1860. He would enlist and serve in the New Jersey Thirty-Seventh Regiment, Company F. William Pogue, Sr. died on October 17, 1865.

Primary Image: Wm. Pogue, Bridgeton, N.J. far imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio

Support Image: Aqua secondary example from Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass.

Support: Reference to Fruit Jar Annual 2020 – The Guide to Collecting Fruit Jars by Jerome J. McCann

Support: Reference to Red Book #11, the Collector’s Guide to Old Fruit Jars by Douglas M. Leybourne, Jr. This includes jar drawing.

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