The land of Connecticut was occupied entirely by the Native Indians. In 1633, this land was bought by Dutch traders from the Pequot tribe and called it ‘Quinatucquet’, a Native American word meaning “Beside the Long Tidal River”. The name eventually became phonetically known as Connecticut.
Within Connecticut were four main Indian groups: Nipmunk, Sequin, Wappinger, and Pequot-
Mohegan. Each group contained their own tribes and occupied a different area of Connecticut. The Sequin, or ‘River Indians’, occupied the area now called Hartford County, as well as other areas. The names of several original tribes within the Sequin are still used today – The Tunxis (Tunxis Community College), The Quinnipiac (Quinnipiac College), and the Hammonasset (Hammonasset Beach State Park) – while others, such as the Sechenayaug, are found only in old town records. The Sequin lived in harmony with nature and their survival was dependant on successful hunting, fishing, and farming within their area. These tribes were found within
small villages along the banks of rivers and lakes, and used the Monhege Path to travel back and forth between other tribes. The Monhege Path was one of the main paths of Connecticut during this time and connected Boston to Wethersfield, and Wethersfield to Norwich, Connecticut. It passed through the Marlborough area near a large lake and was traveled by many Indian tribes as well as Dutch and English settlers. Within the Sequin was an Indian named Chief Terramuggus. He resided in Wethersfield and gave his name to the large lake in Marlborough, known as Lake Terramuggus.
During the early to mid 1600s, English and Dutch settlers began occupying land in what is now
Wethersfield and New London. These two locations became populated quickly because of their close proximity to water. Large ships would stop at these locations to unload passengers and cargo. The Marlborough area, however, was uninhabited by the new settlers but was traveled through on an almost daily basis by the occasional traveler who used the Monhege Path back and forth from Wethersfield to New London. Many traveled for what seemed like days between the two towns to conduct business and trade.
As the new settlers occupied more and more land, they were welcomed by the native tribes, unlike other areas of Connecticut where battles were more common. The native Indians taught the new settlers how to farm and where to hunt, while the settlers in turn taught the Indians about their religion and how to write, among other things. Much of the Indian heritage is based on spoken law; therefore, there is limited documentation regarding the native Indians and their way of life. In the teachings of writing by the English settlers, the native Indians were given a new way to express their laws in the form of writing.
In the 1650s, an Englishman named John Sadler opened one of the very first inns in the new world called Sadler’s Ordinary (originally spelled Ordynary), located on the Monhege Path near Lake Terramuggus. Since the Monhege Path was one of the most traveled paths in Connecticut during these times, establishing an inn on this path was a great benefit to many travelers. John Sadler entertained many and kept his door open to those who needed food and rest. Sadler’s Ordinary was one of the very first buildings constructed in the Marlborough area.
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