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909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804

Museum Hours

Mon - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Lee Dudley (1861-1942) Knotts Island, VA

Lee Dudley and his twin brother Lem operated Dudleys' Island Club and trapped for a living. Though they were the first market hunters in the area, they did not begin carving shooting stools until around 1892 (Kangas, Survey 3). It is probable that Lem did the bulk of the carving, but time has made it impossible to distinguish between pieces crafted by the brothers. The "L.D." branded on the bottom of some of their decoys could stand for Lee or Lem (Engers 171). Decoys attributed to the Dudleys, but lacking this brand were part of someone else's rig and not their own. Most of the carvings the Dudleys did were for their personal use, but at least one rig was designed for someone else, a member of the neighboring Ballance family.

The Dudleys made their black duck, canvasback, goose, green winged teal, mallard, redhead, ruddy duck, scaup, wigeon and few pintail decoys to replicate the actual species. Compact bodies flow from bill to tail with strong sculptured lines. Relief carved wing tips create a ridge along the decoys' backs. Cast lead weights are attached to the bottom, and leather thongs or square-cut nails serve to secure anchor lines.