Charles Schoenheider, Jr. (1892-1997) Peoria, Illinois
Charles Schoenheider, Jr. was one of the 14 children of Charles Schoenheider, Sr. (1854-1944), a well known market hunter and guide in the area around Peoria. The elder Schoenheider produced decoys of such variety and quality that he is held to be one of the most notable Illinois carvers. His son, Charles, Jr. learned the art of decoy carving by helping his father. As a teen he joined his father on hunting trips where he became acquainted with the variety of waterfowl in the area. After market hunting ended in 1918, both father and son made decoys for local hunting clubs and as decorative pieces using patterns developed by the elder Schoenheider.
Schoenheider decoys tend to be long and narrow allowing them to be stowed in a duck boat. The heads are rounded with glass eyes and finely detailed bills. Many of the early pieces are distinguished by the superb painting of Jack Franks, a family friend. The Schoenheider family has produced a number of bird decoys including mallards, pintails, mergansers, geese, canvasbacks, bluebills and redheads. The standing ice decoy is one of the most noteworthy forms.
Charles, Jr.'s own carvings are good examples of the sculptural form and attitude of the elder's work. The sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of Charles Schoenheider, Sr. have continued the family tradition of waterfowl carving.
For additional information
American Bird Decoys, 1965 by William J. Mackey, Jr.
Decoys and Decoy Carvers of Illinois, 1979 by Paul W. Parmalee and Forest D. Loomis.
Decoys Magazine, May/June, 1993 and 1989.
Decoys of the Mississippi Flyway, 1981 by Alan G. Haid
The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys, 1990 by Joe Engers, Ed.