Ken Harris (1906- 1981) Woodville, New York
Ken Harris was a duck hunter, musician and claims adjuster for an insurance company who took up decoy carving as a hobby to satisfy his own need for decoys to hunt over. Allegedly, he decided to carve a black duck decoy to disprove the claim that black ducks were not attracted to decoys. Apparently, his "true to life" decoys were successful. Everyone wanted some. Harris continued to make working decoys in his spare time to satisfy the demand of fellow hunters for a number of years.
In addition to his black ducks, Harris is known to have produced decoys for canvas backs, Canada goose, bluebills, and teal. His name and hometown are stamped on the bottom of many of his decoys.
In the early 1960's, Harris retired from the insurance business and began to produce decorative bird carvings. He employed two assistants, Sterling "Stub" O'Young and John Illingworth of Adams, New York to sand and paint what he carved. Harris was a superb carver who produced a wide range of working decoys and decorative pieces.
For additional information
Decoy Collectors Guide, Jan/Feb and Mar 1965.
Gunners Paradise: Wildfowling and Decoys on Long Island, 1979 by Jane E. Townsend.