Next day, Narvaez went on shore with as many men as the boats could carry, and found the dwellings of the natives abandoned, one of them being large enough to contain three hundred men. In the houses were found a number of fishing nets, and along with these a sort of tabor or drum, ornamented with gold bells. On the day following, Narvaez landed all the rest of his men, and forty-two horses, the others having died during the voyage. Narvaez took formal possession of the country in the name of the king of Spain. Some of the Indians drew near that day, but having no interpreter they could not be conversed with, though it appeared by their threatening signs that they warned the Spaniards to leave their country. On the same day Narvaez marched northwards into the country, with forty men and six horses, and came to a large bay which seemed to penetrate far into the interior. Having halted at that place for the night, he returned next day to the ships. The pilot Meruelo was sent in the brigantine to find out a harbour for the squadron, and to endeavour to procure provisions. Having taken four prisoners, some maize was shewn them, to endeavour to discover if the natives were acquainted with that grain, as none had been seen hitherto in the country. They accordingly offered by signs to lead the Spaniards to where some of it could be procured, and guided them to the town or village where they dwelt, where some maize was growing in a field in the environs. In the same place, they found some Spanish chests, in each of which was a dead body wrapped up in painted deers skins; and as the commissary Juan Xuarez considered this to be some idolatrous institution, he ordered the chests and bodies to be burned. They likewise found some pieces of linen and woollen cloth, with several plumes of feathers which seemed to have come from Mexico, and a small quantity of gold. Being interrogated by signs whence these things were procured, the Indians made them understand by similar means that there was great abundance of gold in a province at a very great distance called Apalache.
[Footnote 129: The name of Apalache is now given to a large bay on the western coast of East Florida, and towards its northern extremity, the bottom or northern extremity of which is in lat. 30 deg. N. and long. 67 deg. 13’ W. where a small river named St Marks enters the sea. The river Apalachicola, likewise named R. des Cahuilas, or Catahoche, runs into the western part of the same bay by two mouths, the easternmost of which is about fifteen miles S.W. of St. Marts River, and western mouth about twenty miles farther to the W.S.W. The same name is applied to the south western extremity of the great range of mountains in the middle states of North America; dividing the Atlantic country from the western waters which run into the Ohio, called Blue Mountains, Alleghany Mountains, and Apalachean Mountains. These last divide North Carolina from the sources of the Tenassee and Cumberland rivers. A part likewise of Georgia, east from the Apalachicola river, along the northern boundary of East Florida, is still named the Apalachi country.—E.]