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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.

David "Umbrella" Watson (1851-1938) Chincoteague, VA  

David Watson was a market hunter and self-taught decoy maker driven by necessity to carve decoys. Though he quit market hunting in the wake of the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, Watson continued producing decoys (Berkey, Chincoteague 81). Because quality wood was already scarce at the turn of the century, he had his brother bring wood from Delaware. Watson fashioned his hollow black ducks, scaup, brant, canvasbacks, geese, pintails, redheads, scaup and shorebirds of white pine for the most part and balsa on few occasions. Using his slow meticulous carving methods, Watson raised the primaries in a V-shape, inserted bills and glass eyes and carved a distinct groove over the eyes. This sort of eyebrow gives Watson's decoys a look of anger, anxiety or deep thought. Average hunters found Watson's decoys to be too expensive. Many of the one or two birds Watson carved each week ended up in a rig at the Gooseville Hunting Club in Hatteras, NC. David Watson's decoys are fine specimens, but the carver himself is probably just as well known for the umbrella he carried every day, rain or shine.