Charles "Cooper" Burkley (1910 - 1983) Fieldsboro, NJ
Charles Burkley was a native of Fieldsboro, where he was employed as a kiln fireman for the Church Brick Company. In 1961 he moved to Bordentown. He is remembered by decoy collectors and historians for his nicely carved high headed canvas back and black duck decoys with the "contented look".
"Cooper" was a close friend of Harry Fennimore (1886 -1970) another resident of Bordentown and well known regional carver. He and Fennimore corroborated on carving several decoys. Burkley's decoys are flat-bottomed with raised-wing tips and painted in a plain style typical of Fennimore and other regional carvers. Burkley may have utilized some heads carved by Fennimore, who was well known for this particular skill.
Burkley is credited with several hundred decoys . A number of his decoys are distinguished by a forward leaning pose to create a swimming attitude. All are flat-bottomed.
Charles' brother. George (1917 - 1979) also carved and is credited with 50 to 60 decoys representing a variety of the birds which frequented the Delaware River Flyway.
For additional information
Decoy Magazine. Nov/Dec. 1990
Floating Sculpture - The Decoys of the Delaware River, 1982 by Harrison H. Huster and Doug Knight.
The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys, 1990 by Joe Engers, Ed. Decoys of the Jersey Coast and
Delaware Valley, 1985 by Kenneth Gasner.