Publication Year: 2012
When the novel opens, Spanish missionaries have settled in the Apalachee homeland on what is now the eastern Florida panhandle, ravaging the native population with disease and altering its culture with Christianity. Despite these changes, the Apalachees maintain an uneasy coexistence with the friars.
Everything changes when English soldiers and their Indian allies from the colony of Carolina invade Spanish Florida. After being driven from her Apalachee homeland by the English, Lucia is captured by Creek Indians and sold into slavery in Carolina, where she becomes a house slave at Fairmeadow, a turpentine plantation near Charles Town. Her beloved husband, Carlos, is left behind, free but helpless to get Lucia back.
Swept by intricate and inexorable currents, Lucia's fate is interwoven with those of Juan de Villalva, a Spanish mission priest, and Isaac Bull, an Englishman in search of fortune in the New World. As the three lives unfold, the reader is drawn into a morally complex world where cultures meet and often clash.
Both major and minor characters come alive in Hudson's hands, but none so memorably as the wise woman Lucia—beautiful, aristocratic, and strong. Informed by the author's extensive research, Apalachee is an ambitious, compelling novel that tells us as much about the ethnic and social diversity of the southern colonies as it does about the human heart.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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The Apalachee people were the aboriginal inhabitants of that part of the eastern Florida panhandle that includes and surrounds the present-day capital city of Tallahassee. Although their homeland was not extensive, their reputation was, and their name was conferred to several geographical...
Part One: MISSION APALACHEE 1704
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In the Apalachee mission town of San Lorenzo de Ivitachuco, in a small, round Indian house that stood close beside the convento of the resident Spanish priest, Hinachuba Lucia knelt beside the low-burning fire in the open hearth. Death had now come so near that she could feel the boundaries...
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‘‘It is in here,’’ she said, motioning toward the trees. The old woman came up beside her and looked dubiously at the heavy undergrowth that screened the entrance of the forest. Then she looked back toward the town, a long distance behind them. The field was green with Father Juan’s crop of winter wheat. Above, the sun shone brightly in a clear...
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Father Juan de Villalva faced his flock from the altar of the chapel of San Lorenzo, a looming barn-like structure with vertical plank walls and a thatched roof. He held his arms out in a gesture that he had once meant as an invitation to worship but that now was no more than an habitual stance...
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Father Juan de Villalva lay awake in the darkness, unable to sleep, yet too exhausted to be up and about like Solana, who was out with the men in the stockade. Thank God for Solana. Thank the Blessed Jesus and his Holy Mother and all the saints of heaven....
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Once again dawn came to Ivitachuco without bringing the enemy. Yet another runner appeared, a boy this time, and he carried a letter in his hand. The people greeted this new development with silence, exhausted now by the long ordeal. Carlos himself felt numb as he led the boy to the barracks...
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It was scarcely a league from Ivitachuco to Oldfield Creek, the place appointed by the Englishman Moore for the rendezvous, yet the weight of the journey was as heavy upon the priest as a trek of many days. The road seemed to go on forever beside green fields of winter wheat and brown...
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The news came with the morning light that the Englishman Moore was taking his army west to raid towns on the road to San Luı´s, leaving Ivitachuco untouched as he had promised. Solana, hearing the news, rose from his chair at the table in the convento and began to get ready to leave. The...
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It had been one of those days of early spring when the fragile sun soaks the open places with its warmth and yet remains too weak to take away the chill from the cool, closed places. And now in the dusk the inside chill sharpened, and Carlos moved quickly about his little room, piling his few belongings...
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Father Juan de Villalva pushed back his blanket, which was making him too hot now that the sun was streaming in through the open window. The fresh smell of the outside air invigorated him. Moving slowly, he swung his feet to the floor and sat for a moment on the side of his bed, then rose and...
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Never had they worked like this, not in all of Lucia’s life, never under such a relentless driver nor with so much weariness and despair. Work in the mission fields had always been hard, but the discipline had been restrained by others above Lorenzo who would hear about it if he drove the workers...
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As he walked among the people in the meadow by the town, Father Juan felt strengthened by the night’s festivities, by the laughter and the dancing and the plentitude of summer. It was the Feast of Saints John and Peter, and his Indians were celebrating with as much joy and revelry as he had...
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The priest rode beside Don Patricio at the head of fifty warriors, who moved on foot through the silence of the pre-dawn darkness. His body ached almost beyond endurance and he clung to the saddle with both hands, while Carlos walked before him leading the horse. Through the last part of the...
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Don Patricio returned to Ivitachuco with only a handful of men, Carlos not among them. Some said Carlos died in the battle. Some claimed to have seen him escape into the woods. But if Carlos escaped, he also deserted, for he did not seek refuge inside the fort at San Luı´s where Don Patricio regrouped...
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The camp of Salvador lay deep within a forest laced with animal trails. Only because Carlos had been there before did they know which trails to follow. Near the camp, however, the human trail became more distinct and Lucia herself could pick it out. She joked with Carlos, saying she would lead the...
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It was the middle of the night, almost a month after they had come to Salvador’s camp. Lucia awoke suddenly in a fright, her heart pounding, her eyes wide and searching the darkness. She reached out and felt Carlos in the bed beside her and then lay still for a moment, trying to collect herself....
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Lucia felt at peace as she walked with Carlos along the forest path toward the camp of Salvador. The four days away had been good for her and she did not mind so much going back to be the White Sun Woman again. Perhaps it was true what Salvador had told her, that in time she would get...
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The day was overcast, as if a blanket of gray had been draped across the sky. Later there would be the misery of rain, but for now Father Juan de Villalva welcomed the relief from the beating sun. He lay on the jolting litter, his head turned to one side as he listlessly watched his people in their flight....
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The priest lay struggling for breath in the stifling heat of the temporary Convento de San Francisco, near Matanzas Bay. The old convento had been a substantial building worthy to be headquarters for the Franciscan mission in Florida, but it—and most of the rest of San Augustın—had been...
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In the Apalachee shantytown, Lucia lay awake, listening to the wind blowing in the night, feeling its icy breath as it seeped through the thatch of the hut. The three of them were huddled together for warmth, Carlos on one side of her, Ana on the other. She thought it likely that both of the others...
Part Two: CAROLINA 1704–1705
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The Jamaica sky was bright blue, the air hot and humid as the coach carrying Isaac Bull rolled out of Kingston into the green countryside. Perspiration trickled down his skin beneath his clothes, soaking into his linen shirt to the very ruffles that hung limply from the wide sleeves of his fullskirted...
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Isaac left Jamaica in December on the sloop Fair Hope, her hold filled with sugar and rum. It was a small vessel and he was the only passenger aboard. He shared the captain’s cabin. As they sailed north past Cuba and then up the long eastern coast of Florida, the air gradually cooled until at last, as...
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The trail could scarcely be seen on the littered floor of the great pine forest, and Henry Hawkins had strayed from it more than once. Now, as before, Hawkins pulled slowly to a halt because the next blaze-marked tree had failed to appear. Behind him Isaac Bull reined in his horse and turned...
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Lucia turned her head away and would not watch while they did to Ana what they had just done to her. Trying not to listen as they told Ana to jump, she looked down at the ground, pulling at the new green grass and breaking it off in her fingers. The woman Margarita moved closer to her...
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The trip downriver to Charles Town from the backcountry went much faster than had the earlier, upriver journey. In little more than a week Isaac and The Panther were paddling their canoeload of slaves into the bay at Charles Town. This was no longer the quiet harbor into which Isaac had...
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Lucia made herself pay attention to her surroundings as they walked along. She noted the buildings they passed and the turns they made away from the street that fronted the bay. She noted alleys and places where there were people who appeared to be poor, some of them white-skinned, others...
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Isaac Bull wandered through the gathering of bewigged men and richlydressed women who milled about in the candlelight of John Hawkins’ hall. He felt serene, warmed by the brandy he had downed, and he smiled amiably as he paused at the edges of conversations, pretending to listen...
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Lucia drew the brush through Charity’s hair, concentrating on making the crown smooth without destroying the curl beneath, trying to do it as she had seen Venus do it. Charity was paying little attention in the mirror, but Venus was standing by watching intently, waiting for the slightest excuse to...
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‘‘How good of you to call, Brother Clark,’’ she said. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that her father, who had ushered her downstairs, had not come with her into the room. ‘‘I’m sure Father will join us in a moment. He told you, did he not, that Uncle and Cousin Henry are out for the...
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‘‘Mr. Bull,’’ she said, taking the letter from her pocket, a trace of chagrin on her face. ‘‘This letter,’’ she said hesitantly. ‘‘It came two days ago. I put it into my apron pocket, you see. It was my intention to give it to you when you came in, you see, but you were late and I was sleeping. And the next...
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Lucia worked contentedly, folding gowns and petticoats, packing them away in a wooden trunk. For almost a month now she had been in good spirits, patient and full of hope. The ship had sailed away to Boston with no one aboard from this house except Abraham, and now in a few days’ time...
Part Three: FAIRMEADOW 1714–1715
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Kneeling before the fireplace, Lucia opened the little cloth bundle and looked for a moment at the four herbal medicines that were inside it, then blew her breath on them and dropped them into the kettle of simmering water....
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Isaac Bull awoke with the first faint light of dawn and for a moment could not recall where he was. Then he knew. He was in the parlor bed at Fairmeadow, his back aching from the sag of the feather mattress. He had lost his liking for this way of sleeping, having grown accustomed over the years...
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It was Christmas and the big house was full, a festival for all but the house slaves. From the quarters came the sound of drums and singing, three days free of toil for the hands. In the big house the music came from a fiddle played by a black slave brought along by the Stanhopes from Stanfield Plantation...
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Lucia sat up suddenly, pushing back the blanket that covered her where she lay on the mat outside the door of Charity’s chamber. The house was dark, the shuttered windows closing out the moonlight. Her heart pounded with fright. Her dream had been so vivid that she could still see it—flames...
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Lucia walked out from the big house to the landing, seeking the warmth of the afternoon sun. Peter and the blacksmith Will and his son, Little Will, were fishing from the riverbank near the wharf. In addition to Sundays the slaves now had Saturday afternoons to themselves, more time for getting...
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Lucia stood at the corner of the house and watched Henry Hawkins climb out of the boat onto the landing. He was thin, his face hollow and drawn. She thought to herself that he must have spent the entire two months in Charles Town swilling rum and eating no solid food. But he seemed to be...
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Lucia lay on a mat in the loft above the kitchen. It was Doll’s room, a small space pinched in by the angles of the roof. She lay on her stomach with her arms folded under her head and stared into the dark recesses, her mind drifting slowly from one dreary thought to another. Her back hurt too...
Part Four: THE UPRISING 1715–1716
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Isaac Bull stood at Yamassee landing and watched Thomas Nairne’s periago cross the broad expanse of the Coosaw River from Port Royal Island. The houses and outbuildings of the nearest plantation on the great island were barely visible in the distance, the flat land stretching away in the warm April...
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A dog barked in the first light of dawn, rousing Lucia from sleep. She rolled onto her back and opened her eyes. The kitchen loft was dark, only a faint gray light coming up from below....
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Lucia sat with Daphne and Juba just outside the tiny, bark-shingled lean-to that they shared in the hidden camp of the Yamasee women. Nearby were the shelters of the other Fairmeadow slaves. The mosquitoes from the swamp swarmed thickly in the spring heat, and Lucia concentrated on the...
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It was summer in the Creek country and the war dragged on. Raiding parties were going out continually against the English settlements. Lucia stood at the edge of the stream in the first light of dawn and sang her song of greeting to the Sun. Behind her Carlos, home from a raid, sat against a...
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Isaac Bull opened his eyes to curtained daylight and pushed back the sheet, seeking relief from the late summer heat. He was in one of the bed chambers of Charity Hawkins’ house in Charles Town. The bed was damp from the sweat of his bedfellow, a Combahee River planter suffering from fever...
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Lucia walked with Peeper and Blue down the path through the winter cornfield. The sky was gray overhead, threatening rain or even snow. Twice already in this season it had snowed, though only once did it stay on the ground long enough to make a wispy whiteness, and then it was gone. Both...
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In the high hills of the Cherokee country, frigid with the cold of January, Isaac Bull walked against the falling snow, his shoulders hunched, his chin pulled down into the collar of his greatcoat. The snow had brought silence, muffling the sound of footsteps on the path, his own and those of the soldier...
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Lucia lay awake listening to the wolves in the fields beyond the town. Their thin, tremulous howls sounded like grieving. They came every night now, the cold making them so hungry and daring that some had been coming up to the very yards of the houses to nose about for food. They seemed to...
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Lucia sat on a bench in the sun, leaning back against a high paling fence, watching Blue as she played with the other children in the slave pen. Three sides of the pen were formed by the walls of surrounding buildings, all with their windows barred, and the fourth side, facing the back alley, was closed...
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Dawn rose in a spreading arch above the sea, casting its red light over the brooding surface of the dark water. Lucia sat on the deck of the rolling ship, her blanket wrapped around both herself and the child, who sat between her legs, leaning back against her, slumped down in sleep. As the light rose,...
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In 1539, at the beginning of his trek though southeastern North America, the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto wintered in Anhayca, the principal town of Apalachee. At that time the Apalachees were a powerful agricultural chiefdom. Although no generally accepted population estimates...
FROM THE DOCUMENTS
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Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2012