John Williams (1857-1937) Cedar Island, NC
John Williams spent much of his time on the water as a professional guide and market hunter. Adjacent to his home, he ran a lodge for visiting sportsmen. Since he had no sons, Williams taught his daughters waterfowling skills. All of the decoys he crafted were for his own use, but he is well-known for his chubby ruddy ducks and huge swans. The low-riding ruddy ducks have wide bodies and short broad tails. Upward sloping breasts give way to powerful necks supporting chunky heads with puffy cheeks. Williams' swans feature these same characteristics, but also have arched backs and curved necks. In addition to the swans and ruddy ducks, Williams also made scaup, canvasbacks and geese. Locals remember John Williams not for his decoys, but for the barbecue and watermelon outings he held every year in honor of his birthday.