The Farmington River, than ran through the Massaco territory, was once called the Tunxis River

Massaco was a native settlement near the present-day towns of Simsbury and Canton along the banks of the Farmington River.[1] The small, local Algonquian-speaking Indians who lived there in the 17th and early 18th centuries belonged to the Tunxis,[2] a Wappinger people.[1]

The Massaco were first encountered by Dutch settlers at the beginning of the 17th century, who referred to the river where they dwelt as the Massaco. Over time, the term Massaco came to refer to the indigenous peoples, the river, the village they occupied, and the land adjacent to the river.[citation needed]

The area known as Massaco was transferred to European settlers, when a local Native man, Manahanoos, burnt a large quantity of tar belonging to John Griffin. Manahanoos was arrested and fined 500 fathoms, or 914.4 meters, of wampum. The local Indians did not possess that vast quantity of wampum, so the sachem, or political leader, of the native community deeded the land to Griffin. The "Massaco Division" included the lands around the towns of Canton and Simsbury, as well as parts of Granby, Connecticut.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Swanton, John Reed (2007). The Indian Tribes of North America. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0-8063-1730-4.
  2. ^ De Forest 53
  3. ^ Spiess, Matthias (1934). "Connecticut circa 1625: Its Indian Trails, Villages, and Sachemdoms"". The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Connecticut. Retrieved 12 May 2016.