Very rare "high head" style canvasback drake decoy by Thomas Barnard circa 1920 Havre de Grace, Maryland; (Susquehanna Flats; Upper Chesapeake Bay)
Thomas Parker Barnard was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland on November 28, 1873, the oldest of 5 children born to Charles Parker Barnard and Ellen (nee Taylor) Barnard. Thomas' father was a railroad employee and in the 1880 census his trade was listed as a "Fireman on Engine". Thomas' father also was a captain on the schooner scow, the Ella Barnard, which was a shallow draft, two-masted sailing ship built at the Brooks Shipyard in Talbot County, Maryland. Thomas Barnard left school to work on his father's schooner, but unfortunately his father died just before the turn of the century in 1900, while Thomas was in his mid-20's. Thus, the 1900 census lists Thomas and his younger brother Charles Nelson as "Can Makers". Later on, Thomas worked at the nearby Aberdeen Proving Grounds as a stationery engineer on the steam boiler system. Thomas not only became an expert waterman, but he was also known as a very accomplished small game hunter in general. Thomas was also very well known in the entire region for his coon and rabbit hounds, including his sensational beagles.