North Haven’s First Inhabitants

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In response to a request for some history –

Native Americans occupied this area for thousands of years before it was settled by the English (the Dutch arrived before them, but didn’t stay). When the English arrived the Quinnipiacs were the group of Native Americans who occupied the area we now know as North Haven. These Native Americans were named Quinnipiacs by the Europeans because they observed that the native dwellers traveled the Quinnipiac River like we would travel a highway.

North Haven acted as the winter encampment sites for the Quinnipiacs; they would live here during the colder months, but spend the warmer months nearer the shore of Long Island Sound for the seafood and land for growing food. When the English settlers first moved into North Haven they were primarily farmers, and they found lots of evidence of these encampments as they dug and turned their fields – stone tools, points (arrowheads), shards of cooking pots, etc.

By the mid-nineteenth century there had been no more Quinnipiacs present in North Haven for a century (another long story) but artifacts from them were still being found. People started reminiscing about the Native Americans who used to live here, stories developed, and their presence was romanticized in local stories, street names, and places. That is why we have Montowese and Quinnipiac Avenues, Montowese School, and other references to the Native Americans in our surroundings.

To learn more about the Quinnipiacs, please visit the Historical Society – 27 Broadway – 3 to 6 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have a great collection of artifacts from our first inhabitants.