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Collector’s Shelf: Edward “Ned” Burgess

Collector's Shelf

edward “ned” burgess
10/16/1868 – 10/13/1958

Born in Duck, NC and raised in Currituck County NC. 

Ned was a prolific decoy carver and carved more decoys in his lifetime than anyone in North Carolina. Ned was orphaned as a young boy and had to fend for himself by hunting, fishing and trapping and he also became a sailor at the young age of nine years old. He began carving decoys on the long voyages to pass the time. Ned was injured by a neighborhood girl who threw sand in his face and caused him to lose eyesight in one eye. 

Ned was a man of modest means who never owned a band saw but used simple tools to carve his decoys including a hatchet and a rasp. His style remained constant throughout his years of carving into his 80s and it is estimated that he carved five to ten thousand decoys in his lifetime. He retired in Waterlilly,NC in a simple tar papered home which was said to be covered with wood shavings scattered everywhere. 

The Ned burgess ruddy ducks pictured are approximately 8 inches long with squared off tails and dark brown paint with white cheek patches. 

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