People of the Wepawaug

PEOPLE OF THE WEPAWAUG

In 1639, when the first English people arrived in what was to become Milford, they found the area around the mouth of the Wepawaug River in the possession of a group of native people. The natives called their home “Wepawaug,” which means “narrows” or “crossing place.” The

name became attached to the people as well as the place. In reality, the first residents of Milford were a clan of the much larger Paugussett Nation, an Algonquian tribe located in southern and western Connecticut.


The Paugussetts lived in the traditional Algonquian style, inhabiting the longhouses known as wetus, traveling in dugout canoes, and fashioning stone tools. Archaeological digs conducted by the Milford Marine Institute have uncovered hundreds of tools and other artifacts left by the Wepawaug clan of the Paugussetts.


A full-grooved stone ax was discovered during the 2011 camp session. This artifact has been dated at 4 to 6 thousand years old. In 2012 more significant artifacts were found, including a perfect–and rare–Indian paint pot.