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909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804
410.742.4988

Museum Hours

Mon - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Captain Ben Davis (dates unknown) Mohegan Island, Maine  

Mohegan Island is located about 10 miles off of the coast of Maine southeast from Pemaquid Point Light. About 1 mile wide and 2 1/2 miles long it is shaped a bit like a whale with 150 foot headlands on the north side sloping down to low coves on the southern head. Fishing and lobstering is the way of life for a number of the less than 100 round year residents.

The history of the island goes back over 400 years. It was known to native Americans as a prime fishing area, and it was a stopover and repair station for European fishermen well before the mainland was settled. The island is home to numerous species of seabirds.

Captain Ben Davis is believed to have been a resident of the island in the last half of the 19th century. He may have been involved in the operation of the lighthouse built on the island in 1850. Joel Barber (1876 -1952), one of the first persons to stimulate the study and collection of working decoys, included an illustration of an "Old Squaw" decoy credited to Davis in his book, Wild Fowl Decoys first published in 1934 and still in print. The decoy, designed for open water, is wide with a flat bottom and the head is mortised into the body. Painting is minimal. Captain Davis is credited with several merganser decoys.

 

For additional information

The Art of The Decoy: American Bird Carvings, 1965 by Ernest Adele.

"Maine Coast Decoys" by Barton M. Blum in Decoy Collectors Guide, 1963 - 1964¬1965, Hal Sorensen, Ed.

Wild Fowl Decoys, 1934 by Joel Barber.