My Favorite Three Decoys..
The favorite three guest speaker for April was Harold Fay. Harold brought in several birds. They may have been different species but they all had one thing in common, they were all carved by Harold. The one exception to that was a mason decoy that didn’t have a head. Harold said he quickly remedied that situation by carving a head for it and painting it as a green winged teal.
Besides the Mason-green wing teal, Harold also brought in an American merganser, a red-breasted merganser and two shorebirds. He said that the four birds and one head were all made by him between 1990 and 2000. He added that he enjoys carving and that it is fun and a relaxing hobby for him.
Several members went over and viewed Harold’s beautiful carvings and two members expressed interest in purchasing some of his decoys.
Thank you to Harold for bringing in some of your personal favorites and sharing your amazing talents with members. We all can certainly appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes in to making these long lasting treasures.
Bob Nyman is now scheduled for the June meeting.
The fall favorite three schedule will be published in the June newsletter.
(Reminder, if you are scheduled for the favorite three but will not attend the meeting, please contact George Munkert or Kate Sohm so they can get a replacement.)
FEATURE SPEAKER: APRIL 2019
Andrew “Grubie” Verity
Ben Sohm gave a talk on Seaford carver Andrew “Grubie” Verity and brought in seven decoys and one head carved by Andrew Verity. Ben said he knew him growing up in Seaford as they lived on the same block.
Ben showed a typical Andrew Verity carved head that Grubie carved from sugar pine. He said the head was part of a collection known to be the last heads that Andrew Verity ever carved. They were part of the Whitman rig of Seaford and Ben was fortunate enough to purchase 24 heads from Marge Whitman.
Then Ben showed the last miniature black duck decoy made by Andrew Grubie Verity.
Ben said patterns for the heads were on the walls of the boathouse of Mr. Sexton and that anyone could go there and use his bandsaw to cut out heads and bodies for decoys.
Ben then showed a shorebird that was carved by Andrew Verity which Ben entered in the 2017 Ward Museum Antique Decoy Competition. The decoy, which can be seen in the photographed, won second place in the Long Island Shorebird category. It is a perfect example of a square head decoy with wonderful stipple paint. Ben said that it has been coated with something; perhaps wax, but Ben could not confirm that.
Ben showed a sheldrake decoy with a head that was carved by Andrew Verity and a cork body carved by Ben’s longtime friend Harold Putallaz. They grew up together in Seaford, both loving to hunt, fish, carve and collect decoys.
Ben said that in Seaford there were two occupations, farming or being a bayman. He added that in the winter, ducks were a main source of food for local families.
But eventually the railroad came to Seaford; city folk moved there and then the government shut down snipe hunting. Although that reduced the demand for market gunners, half were still able to sell their birds at market. Ben said that in the 1920’s canals were being dug and homes were being built on marshes in Seaford Harbor. He said seventy-five years ago, there were many, many full time bayman working and living in Seaford. Sadly today, there are no full time bayman in Seaford anymore.
Ben showed a black duck from the Whitman rig that he believes Andrew Verity did carve but he’s not sure. Though it has a painted head, the body isn’t painted. It is smoked over a kerosene lamp which gives it its brown tint color.
Ben then discussed a little bit of the Verity genealogy. He stated that a lot of the history of the Verity’s lineage came from the U. S. government census. Ben named John Henry Verity, and then came an Obadiah Verity who had a son Smith Clinton Verity (1848 1920). Smith Clinton Verity had two sons Alonzo Verity and Andrew Verity. Ben said he has a decoy by Alonzo Verity, but forgot to bring it tonight. He described the bird he left at home that it has a high, thin head with high eyes. Ben named Willard Verity and that he had ten children. Ben said that knew two of his sons, Austin Verity and Wesley Verity.
Ben showed a cork broadbill that was carved by Andrew circa 1930 for the Powell rig. The rig belonged to the father of our late friend and member Bill Powell.
Ben then showed an Andrew Verity cork pintail decoy that was carved circa 1900. The decoy had some shot in it and some original paint left on it. He said you should never do to a decoy what was done to this decoy. That is, sand it down. You want to keep as much original paint on it as you can. He added that Grubie was the main carver in Seaford because he didn’t charge a lot of money for his decoys.
Then Ben compared two decoys from Seaford, he said they were different, yet the same. One was the decoy carved by Andrew Verity that was entered in the Ward Museum competition and the other decoy Ben believes was carved by his grandfather Frank Roach. They both possess the Seaford style of carving which means they have stipple paint and the tip wings are pointed and touching. He added that almost all Seaford duck decoys have a peg in the head and a leather thong.
We thank Ben for his informative and interesting talk about Seaford decoy carver Andrew “Grubie” Verity.