A watercolor in the reception hall of Hobcaw House depicts two modest homes that once stood at Clambank Landing. Sitting on one of the porches is a figure thought to be Sawney Caines carving duck decoys while his wife washes clothes in the yard. This painting is one of many that Bernard Baruch commissioned from noted American landscape artist Louis Aston Knight in 1916. Hobcaw Barony – one of the few places on earth where a landless poacher such as Sawney Caines, who, as the story goes, saved President Grover Cleveland from sinking into the pluff mud of Winyah Bay, might be hired as a hunting guide by the economic advisor to five presidents. A hunting guide, who after being immortalized by an eminent landscape painter, found fame himself, albeit posthumously, as a folk artist of some of the most collectible duck decoys of the early 20th century. Caines decoys of this era have sold for over $100,000 at auction.
The Caines brothers – including Ball, Bob and Pluty Caines in addition to Sawney and Hucks – were descendants of longtime residents of Hobcaw dating to the 18th century. With the exception of Ball Caines, they served as hunting guides for Bernard Baruch and his guests. It was the Caines’ expertise that helped hunters bring down 100 ducks at a time prior to federal game limits in 1918. Hucks Caines’ grandsons, Jerry and Roy Caines followed in the family tradition, working as commercial fishermen and shrimpers. In this video, shot on the Hobcaw House dock, they discuss the high standards they maintained for the fish they caught and sold.