Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Decoy & Carroll A. Deering

Several days ago I received an email from a woman who discovered an old wooden decoy in her late father's estate. She sent me a photo of the Canada Goose decoy:

She believes the decoy was made by Charles MacWilliams ("Charlie Mac" to islanders) because of a typed paper found with the decoy.

The paper reads, "The wood in this hand-carved decoy came from one of the five masts of the schooner Carroll A. Deeering, wrecked in a great storm on Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras more than forty years ago [the Deering wrecked in 1921]. After she had been dynamited, one section of this famous Ghost Ship was driven ashore at Ocracoke Island in another storm, where I salvaged a mast. I carved this body from the mast, carved the head out of a natural driftwood knee found on the beach, and then painted the decoy.

"Many a waterfowl has been shot over this decoy. Famous men like Lynn Bogue Hunt, artist; Dr. Edgar Burke, author and artist, and Rex Beach, novelist, who all gunned with me long years ago -- had good shooting over this hand-carved decoy!

"October 15, 1963, Ocracoke, N.C. Charles MacWilliams"

I believe the woman is correct, and that the decoy was carved by Charlie Mac.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke's Agnes Scott, direct descendant of Agnes Scott for whom the women's college in Decatur, Georgia is named. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news062114.htm.


  1. Anonymous10:18 AM

    And in furtherance of today's episode of "Ocracoke's Antiques Roadshow," would anyone out there with an informed opinion dare venture a likely value for such an interestingly storied piece of folk art? I truly sounds like a rare prize.

    Always interesting, Philip. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous10:19 AM

    "It" truly sounds like a rare prize. Mea culpa.