Diamond City, NC History

Life on Ca’e Banks ...
Pieces of History Passed Down

Gathered by Jan Gillikin, David Yeomans, Dorothy Guthrie and others

JOHN SHACKLEFORD of Shackleford Plantation was appointed by the colonial governors to “plant corne on said plantation.” Also, for every ship drawing eight feet of water and anchoring at the Banks, Shackleford was to charge three shillings six pence per foot!

David Wade, a relative of the Enoch Ward and John Shackleford, served in the War for Independence with “Core Sound Independence Co.”

Speaking of war ... it has been told that a Ca’e Banks mama heard of an official government man trolling the banks for young men to enlist. He was asking the whereabouts of her son and someone told him that he was at the mill grinding corn. She promptly told him that if he (the government man) laid a finger on her son she would tear his arm (the government man) off his body and beat him to death with the bloody stump! That was the last he was heard tell of ...

BUZZARD HILL at Diamond City was a very high hill which offered kids many happy, carefree hours of fun rolling down from top to shore. There was also a hill called CONCH SHELL HILL.

LARKIN’ was what the Bankers called “courting.”

KELLY WILLIS ran the mailboat from the Cape and Harkers Island to Beaufort in the1900s.

ISAAC VAN WILLIS lived at Cape Lookout while tending the Lighthouse. His family still lives at Harkers Island.

BILLY HANCOCK was the fastest runner on Cape Lookout. In 1865 contractors were hired to tear down the old lighthouse at the Cape. After laborious calculation, the precise brick was located that would topple the tower. Billy was hired to strike the fateful blow to “that one brick” and then run like ---- as the lighthouse fell.

ALBERT O’BRADY GUTHRIE was sitting with a group of men at one of the stores on the Banks. As they watched storm clouds gather, he was struck by lightening and killed.

WALTER STYRON moved from the Banks in 1903 but told of the sand drifts “as high as the window sill” before leaving.

JAMES BRYAN GUTHRIE was a school teacher at Diamond City. The school session lasted three months per year, since the other months the children were needed to help fish and work. MRS. PEARL WHITLEY was the last teacher at Cape Lookout with 15 attending. That school closed around 1917.

From 1800-1900 there were approximately 500 people at Diamond City and Shackleford Banks and approximately 150 people at Cape Lookout. The communities from Diamond City westward to Beaufort Inlet included Bell’s Island, Jack’s Island, Mullet Pond, Whale Creek, Oak Hammock, Moore’s Landing, Sam Windsor’s Lump, and Wade’s Shore.

STORES ON THE BANKS were owned by Henry Guthrie, Charlie Hancock, Ambrose Lee Guthrie, Ed Russell, Clifford Hancock and Tyre Moore. There was also a store at Cape Lookout owned by George and Annie Rose. At Cape Lookout, there were four stores in later years. There were also two dance halls, with square dancing every night, belonging to H. B. Hunter and Mrs. Carrie Davis. Ivey Scott was the fiddler. He wrote and played the “Booze Yacht” ballad.

The First LIFE-SAVING STATION was built at Cape Lookout in 1888. William Howard Gaskill of Harkers Island was its first keeper. He was stationed at Cape Lookout for 17 years. The Coast Guard Station was built in 1914. Fred Gillikin of Marshallberg was its first keeper. During these years, there were approximately 50 families living from the Lighthouse south to the Life-Saving Station. There were four stores and one school. A lightship was stationed at Cape Lookout Shoals in 1904 and remained operational until 1933.

ABNER PARKER GILLIKIN was the lighthouse keeper during the War Between the States. He was there when the federal troops dynamited the lighthouse.

In later year, after all the full-time residents had migrated inland, Ca’e Bankers returned to the Banks for weeks and months at the time. They NEVER gave up their roots on these Banks.

From "Our Shared Past" prepared for the Diamond City & Ca'e Bankers Reunion, August 1999 as a collection of writings, research and recollections to tell the story of the Banks communities.
Copyright 1995, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum
All rights reserved.

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