Algonquian natives in the early 1630’s invited English
invaders, who had formed communities at Plymouth
and Massachusetts Bay, to settle in the lower Connecticut
River valley. One native group, the Wangunks, asked English
families “to sit down with them,” first at Pyquag, now Wethersfield,
and later at Mattabesecke, now Middletown.
Successes and failures of the social experiment initiated by the Wangunks help
illustrate the ways in which interactions between Anglo Americans and Native
Americans profoundly shaped the lives of both peoples in southern New England
well into the eighteenth century.
The story of these early encounters between Algonquians and
the English in the lower Connecticut
valley will be the subject of an illustrated talk by Jim Sarbaugh on Tuesday,
March 4 at 7:00 pm in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library. An independent
researcher, Jim studied anthropology and history at Wesleyan
University where he developed
interests in the history and cultures of native peoples of America. He has studied with, and
written about, Cherokees in the southeast and Oklahoma. A resident of Middlesex County
for the past forty years, he has collected information about local history with
particular interest in early interactions between native Algonquian people and
the English. A portion of his research was conducted in the Historical
Russell Library, located at 123 Broad Street in Middletown, is handicap accessible. The program is free and open to the
public. For more information, contact
the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.