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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.

Samuel Hutchings (born 1892 or 1894) Jones Falls, Ontario  

Samuel Hutchings was a farmer and construction contractor who was only recently identified as a decoy carver, though his family has been carving since the middle of the nineteenth century. Hutchings' Grandfather Jackson, a descendant of President Andrew Jackson, was a blacksmith and Hutchings' inspiration to use his hands. At an early age, Hutchings was given the responsibility of carving the family decoys for their local hunting trips. Hutchings started out by reworking some of his father's decoys and later began carving on his own following the family patterns. Hutchings' decoys are small, about 8.5" long. He defended the unusual size by saying, "'Very small decoys were fine in the small potholes of the rocky Grant Island lakes--and they are easy to carry'" (Engers 289). Hutchings relief-carved the decoy wings and then textured the surface of the bird in a unique way, "checkering." Using the sharp edge of a file, Hutchings etched diamond shapes that resemble argyle or fancy gunstock grips. Hutchings made more than two dozen hooded mergansers incorporating this technique (Kangas, Survey 141).

Samuel Hutchings did not carve many varieties of species and specialized in goldeneyes and hooded mergansers which he sold to area hunters. Starting in the sixties, Hutchings devoted less time to detail and produced decoys that dim in comparison to the early decoys he produced between 1908 and 1914 (Kangas, Survey 141).