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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.

Henry “Hank” Kilpatrick (1868-1935) Barnegat, NJ

Hank Kilpatrick, a native to the Barnegat Bay region, made his living building sneak boxes and a variety of small boats. He was well-known by the locals because of his talent for telling tales and playing banjo and guitar. Spending all his life in Barnegat, Kilpatrick became an excellent fisherman, bayman, waterfowl gunner and decoy carver. Though Kilpatrick had difficulty in carving the shoulders and necks of his birds, the decoys were no less sturdy than the sneak boxes he built. The crimped appearance of the neck and a high full tail have become characteristics associated with his work. In keeping with Barnegat Bay carving tradition, Kilpatrick demonstrated only slight surface carving, usually over the wing tip or the tail.

He also carved a definite brow line over the eye. Kilpatrick was never known to use glass eyes, but did use tacks and paint. For ballast, Kilpatrick simply attached lead pad weights to the bottoms of his decoys. It is true that he never made any spectacular contributions to the world of decoy carving, but Hank Kilpatrick did his part to uphold the Barnegat tradition.