This summer I was given the opportunity to conduct research for the Simsbury Historical Society located in Simsbury, Connecticut. My research was centered on the Native Americans who lived in this area before, and at the time of settler contact. The goal of my research was to find out as much as possible about the tribes that lived and interacted with the settlers. I put together a presentation and, a WordPress informational and bibliographic site, and assisted in finding useful information for the town of Simsbury’s upcoming celebration in the sSpring of 2015. My application to the Colin Leroy ’10 Research Fund was generously accepted, and the grant funded my research.
As mentioned, this internship involved studying the Native Americanss in the Simsbury region called the Massacoes. With no pre-set agenda, I delved into the research with a broad plan to learn as much as possible about the archaeology, history, lifestyle, and relationship with the surrounding environment and with the settlers. I generally found information on all of these topics.Gaps in the literature did exist, such as indications of highly distinctive cultural practices to that would have set the Massacoes apart from Native neighbors and detailed correspondence (not including deeds) with the settlers. What I did find included information about a small tribe living amongst major tribal powers with close ties to the Farmington River. This tribe played a major role in the formation and eventual incorporation of Simsbury into Connecticut. Through local archaeological finds, it is possible to imagine the Massacoes’ presence in this region.
To complete my research I traveled to various libraries, schools, historical societies and museums. The locations include Trinity College’s Raether and Watkinson Library, the Simsbury Historical Society, the Simsbury Public Library, the Connecticut Historical Society, the Institute for American Indian Studies, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, the Salmon Brook Historical Society, the Windsor Historical Society and the Yale Sterling Library. I met several experts such as Dr. Kenneth Feder, Dr. Marc Banks, Dr. Lucianne Lavin and Dr. Eileen Fielding who helped provide me with facts on the history of the Native Americans and the ecology of this region. I also received counseling from my adviser, Professor Wickman, and also worked closely with Rick Wagner and Joe Buda from the Simsbury Historical Society. I would like to thank all of these individuals for giving me advice, counseling, time, and the Colin Leroy ’10 Research Fund for making this possible.
By Cody Patrina