Lake Apalachy

Map of Virginia, Maryland, and Carolina in North America (c. 1715) by Johann Baptist Homann. John Lederer's Lake Ushery  is the fictional Lake Apalachy (here Apalache Lacus).
Map of Virginia, Maryland, and Carolina in North America (c. 1715) by Johann Baptist Homann. John Lederer’s “Lake Ushery” is the fictional Lake Apalachy (here Apalache Lacus).

From Sara I kept a South-Southwest course until the five and twentieth of June, and then I reached Wisacky. This three-days march was more troublesome to me than all my travels besides: for the direct way which I took from Sara to Wisacky, is over a continued Marish over-grown with Reeds, from whose roots sprung knotty stumps as hard and sharp as Flint. I was forc’d to lead my horse most part of the way, and wonder that he was not either plunged in the Bogs, or lamed by those rugged knots.

This Nation is subject to a neighbour-King residing upon the bank of a great Lake called Ushery, invironed of all sides with Mountains, and Wisacky Marish; and therefore I will detain the Reader no longer with the discourse of them, because I comprehend them in that of Ushery.

The six and twentieth of June, having crossed a fresh River which runs into the Lake of Ushery, I came to the Town, which was more populous then any I had seen before in my March. The King dwells some three miles from it, and therefore I had no opportunity of seeing him the two nights which I stayed there. This Prince, though his Dominions are large and populous, is in continual fear of the Oustack-Indians seated on the opposite side of the Lake; a people so addicted to Arms, that even their women come into the field, and shoot Arrows over their husbands shoulders, who shield them with Leathern Targets. The men it seems should fight with Silver-Hatchets: for one of the Usheryes told me they were of the same metal with the Pomel of my Sword. They are a cruel generation, and prey upon people, whom they either steal, or force away from the Usheryes in Periago’s, to sacrifice to their Idols. The Ushery-women delight much in feather-ornaments, of which they have great variety; but Peacocks in most esteem, because rare in those parts. They are reasonably handsome, and have more of civility in their carriage then I observed in the other Nations with whom I conversed; which is the reason that the men are more effeminate and lazie.

These miserable wretches are strangely infatuated with illusions of the devil: it caused no small horrour in me, to see one of them wrythe his neck all on one side, foam at the mouth, stand bare-foot upon burning coals for near an hour, and then recovering his senses, leap out of the fire without hurt, or signe of any. This I was an eye-witness of.

The water of Ushery-lake seemed to my taste a little brackish; which I rather impute to some Mineral-waters which flow into it, then to any saltness it can take from the Sea, which we may reasonably suppose is a great way from it. Many pleasant Rivulets fall into it, and it is stored with great plenty of excellent fish. I judged it to be about ten leagues broad: for were not the other shore very high, it could not be discerned from Ushery. How far this Lake tends Westerly, or where it ends, I could neither learn or guess.

The Discoveries of John Lederer (London, 1672).

Published by Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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