The Spirit of Living In and Around Calabash explores the local history of Calabash, North Carolina through the eyes of Captain Harold Hickman as he gives a unique perspective of the fascinating history of Calabash.
Brunswick County history has been the chosen subject of other local author Captain Harold Hickman. Four generations of Capt. Hickman’s family have resided in Brunswick County.
He was inspired to write The Spirit of Living in and around Calabash: Yesteryear, yesterday, and today after sharing that history with his son Dan.
Calabash first showed up on maps in the late 1600s as Pea Landing. The ocean and the nearby river and supplied most of the local’s food, while the surrounding fields grew thick with peanuts and indigo.
The peanut fields are still there today, while golf courses and retirement communities have replaced the indigo.
The fishermen continue to take to the Calabash River pulling in their catches and selling them in the many seafood restaurants but they still make their own suppers from what they don’t sell, as their fathers and grandfathers did before them.
Through the 1700s into the early 1800s, Pea Landing grew at a slow pace, as one plantation after another began appearing on maps.
As time passed, the riverfront near the docks began to formalize, as a commercial center of businesses and homes began to appear.
By 1883, the people of Pea Landing petitioned to have a post office. Their request was denied (another town called Pea Landing already existed) so they named themselves after the most obvious feature in their area, the Calabash River.
The crooked, winding river took its name from the crook-necked “calabash gourd”, which is a gourd that, when it is dried and hollowed, has been used by cultures around the world as a ladle, bottle, dipper, and bowl.
The Calabash River, just like gourd which is its namesake, holds the livelihood and spirit of the town.
Calabash is a way of living holding tradition close. It’s a lifestyle and way of working with your feet in the mud feeling for clams or your hands on a river bank pulling out oysters.
Calabash is also way of eating, sharing, and drawing close to one another. Calabash is the town you wish you grew up in.
Capt. Hickman, a retired explosives safety engineer and certified Coast Guard captain, took three years to research and write the book.
During that time, he uncovered many facts about his hometown that he hadn’t known, for example that the name ‘Calabash’ was taken from the African slaves’ word for gourd.
Capt. Hickman hopes the book will help preserve the history of the area.