Harkers Island, Crystal Coast

Decatur Gillikin, the subject of many island legends, lived on Harkers Island around the turn of the century. He reportedly possessed incredible strength.

One day, the story goes, Decatur was hauling logs by oxcart. He discovered that to get around a certain fence blocking his path, it was necessary to make a mile-long detour. Not being too fond of delays, Decatur picked up each ox and set it neatly on the opposite side of the fence.

Decatur is also said to have been involved in many fights, and legend has it that he never lost a single one. One particular story claims that he signed on as a sailor on a British ship. He had not been aboard long before he whipped the ship's champion, which so aroused the nationalistic pride of the crew that he had to fight them all. Before the day was out, Decatur supposedly beat fifteen men.

Today, the Gillikin family is still very much in evidence on the island.

Published here by kind permission of Claiborne S. Young's Cruising Guide


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