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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.

Nathaniel "Rowley" Horner (1881-1942) West Creek, NJ  

Rowley Horner grew up in Tuckerton and West Creek, but spent much of his life moving from place to place and job to job. Horner learned how to make decoys from Harry Shourds and eventually passed on the tradition of decoy carving by teaching Chris Sprague. During the Depression, Horner sold clams for $2 per hundred and half-size mallards for $2 each (Holst 80). For every dozen working decoys, he got $36 (Holst 79). The hollow two-piece bodies Horner carved command a sophisticated profile and display painting that is more detailed than that of most New Jersey coast decoys. Horner's painting technique combined the typical blunt separations of color with blended edges and areas that were dry-brushed or stippled. His application was simple, yet effective. Horner utilized a basic weight system of rectangular lead sheets beveled on the edges and secured with brass screws. The true trademark of Horner's work, however, lies on the underside of the bill; on either side, the base has been beveled. Horner produced black duck, brant, goose, redhead and scaup decoys for the most part. In addition to a few other species of ducks, he also carved plover, sanderlings and yellowlegs. Teaming up with Ellis Parker and Chris Sprague, Horner helped to create a rig of six hundred scaup that epitomize the New Jersey style (Holst 80). It was through the work of Rowley Horner that the Tuckerton style of carving achieved its ultimate level of overall quality.