Long before Lake Anna State Park was around, there was no Lake Anna in general. Lake Anna was created to cool the reactor of the North Anna nuclear power plant. Since then, it has become a very popular weekend getaway and vacation spot.
The region that is now Lake Anna was basically bisected from east to west by the Youghtoman River. Before the Europeans, this area was inhabited by the Monacan Sioux in the south. The area that is now considered Lake Anna State Park was inhabited by a Siouxan tribe called the Mannahoacks.
Captain John Smith described the Mannahoacks as a “warlike and tall people” based on his encounter with them. During an exploration in 1608, up the Rappahannock River, he wandered into Mannahoack territory and was promptly run out. His boat was chased twelve miles along the riverbank by Mannahoack warriors.
Smith managed to capture a Mannahoack Sioux named Amoroleck, and through the help of a friendly Algonquin translator, asked him why the Mannahoacks had attacked them. He answered, “They heard [the English] were a people come from under the world, to take their world from them.” He also described the Monacan Sioux as their neighbors and friends who lived in the hilly countryside by small rivers and lived off of hunting, roots and fruits.
The Mannahoacks were themselves pioneers. Their main population resided far west in what is now the Ohio Valley. They were mostly nomadic within their territories and fell into what was described as the “Middle Woodland” phase. This phase was characterized by hunting, food gathering and limited agriculture.
The Mannahoacks would have very little to do with the English. They were mainly troubled with the English’s friendliness with their enemy the Algonquians. They also had to deal with attacks from Iroquois hunting and trading parties on their western borders. This caused the Mannahoacks to be quite persistent in keeping their territory closed to outsiders.
They eventually succumbed to the increased pressure of the Iroquois and witnessing the demise of the Algonquins at the hands of the English. They simply disappeared along with their fellow Monacan Sioux. It is presumed they rejoined their Sioux counterparts in the Ohio Valley. This threw open the doors for the English to explore the new frontier of the Lake Anna area.