John Ramsey (1858-1934) Summerside, Prince Edward Island
John Ramsey of Summerside, Prince Edward Island worked most of his life for Hall Manufacturers, a threshing mill producer, and did the bulk of his carving in the early 1900's. As a carver, Ramsey was an important supplier for market hunters, and it is believed that he produced more than one thousand brant and goose decoys. His decoys were sturdy, yet light and portable, with quality and style worthy of attention and imitation. Ramsey did not carve a great variety of decoys, but concentrated on ice and floating geese, brant, black ducks and shorebirds. Characteristics associated with his decoys include tack eyes and solid bodies with smooth surfaces that do not allow for wing or tail carving. Depending on the wood he used, Ramsey made brant that were carved entirely from one piece of wood; the iron rod weight remains the decoy's only attachment. As opposed to these brant, Ramsey's Canada goose decoys were constructed from two or three pieces of wood. The bodies are hollowed out and finished smooth on the exterior. Keeping with the Prince Edward Island tradition, Ramsey carved his geese in varied natural positions of preening, feeding and resting. However, due to the exchange of sportsmen and decoys between Prince Edward Island and parts of the United States, some of Ramsey's birds have turned up in the United States and have been attributed to an unknown American carver. Decoy carving portraying the skill and style of John Ramsey would be a source of pride in any country.