Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pinta Williams

Pinta Williams (1905-1954) was the son of Captain David Williams (keeper of the first US Life Saving Station in Ocracoke village) and Alice Wahab. He was married to Wilma Austin ("Miss Wilma" was the daughter of Leon Austin, one of Ocracoke's lighthouse keepers). Pinta and Miss Wilma had one daughter, Alice Bell.

Pinta was a duck hunter, and he carved many a wooden decoy. Pictured below is one of his brant decoys. Note the original paint and lead anchor weight which was attached to the decoy by a long cord.

We are now in the middle of duck hunting season. Brant and various other ducks may be hunted in North Carolina coastal waters until January 28. However, most modern day hunters use lighter plastic decoys. Unfortunately, many Ocracoke islanders destroyed their handmade wooden decoys once plastic ones became available. I remember Wallace Spencer telling me he chopped his up with a hatchet to burn in his wood stove. Only later did he realize what a mistake that was!

If any of our readers have Ocracoke waterfowl hunting stories, please leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke and the "Lost" Colony. You can read it here:


  1. In Salisbury, MD, one may stumble across the Ward Brothers Museum of Waterfoul Art. There is a wide variety of decoy carvings on display ranging from working decoys to ornamental carvings. Some of the simpler original working decoys such as the one by Pinta Williams are highly valued. Some of the ornamental carvings are winners of world competitions and one would swear that these are not wood carvings but actual stuffed birds.

    This is a must see for anyone in that area that has an interest in wood carvings.

    Bear MacDonald

  2. Anonymous2:31 PM

    I heard there is a plastic decoy museum foundation looking for a suitable location to display their extensive plastic decoy collection. Interested parties can contact their legal representatives Dewey, Cheatum & Howe P. A.

  3. I just purchased a small carved, unpainted wooden decoy at an auction last night. The bottom is signed 'Wallace Spencer Ocracoke NC 1996'. When I searched on the name this article appeared. I'm now even happier with my purchase.