2 Tunxis Tribe


By Alaina and Olivia (Stafford)

 Have you ever heard of the Tunxis Tribe? If you haven’t, then this is your lucky day! If you read on you can find out tons of information, like how Lake Compounce got its name, what Tunxis means, and a whole lot about Bristol’s Native Americans.


        The Tunxis Tribe ate a lot of salmon, as they made their homes along the river.


 Here’s some interesting facts about the Tunxis Tribe:  Tunxis means bend in the river. The Tunxis tribe was a very peaceful group that sustained themselves largely through fishing. They ate a lot of salmon and also hunted. They lived peacefully with the English settlers. In fact, one day, in 1688, 2 Tunxis chiefs died and a meeting was held at John Wadsworth`s house to help elect a new chief. This was strange because Wadsworth was an English settler and not a member of the Tunxis Tribe. A gift of meadow land was given to Wadsworth for his help and the land is still owned by the family today. The names of the Tunxis chiefs that passed away were Pethus (PEH-THUS) and Ahamo (UH-HA-MOE).

As mentioned above, the Tunxis and the English settlers coexisted peacefully. The settlers would plough through the land, and the Tunxis Indians would cut wood and trade animal hides and corn with the settlers. The Tunxis tribe even put themselves under the protection of the English settlers when the Mohawk tribe came through the region. The Mohawks were a dangerous and an aggressive tribe.

The Tunxis Tribe traded corn with the settlers

The most known Tunxis chief is Chief John Compound. He is believed to have drown in Lake Compounce, but we cannot know for sure. Legend has it that in 1684, Chief John Compound along with several tribe members signed a deed which gave land including Compound’s Lake to a group of white settlers including John Norton for a small sum of money and some items of very little value. Some say that when Chief Compound realized what he had done, he drowned in the lake while trying to cross it in a large kettle. Others think he purposely drowned himself, while yet still more people think some members of his tribe might have drowned him.

The name of the amusement park Lake Compounce is said to be derived from this piece of land called Compound’s Lake. It is now the oldest continually operated theme park in North America, having operated since 1846. Chief Compound’s name was often recorded as Compas, Compaus, Compoune, Compowne, or Compound, but people often only know Compounce.

Lake Compounce

 Chief Cochipianes was the name of another Tunxis tribesman. The land where he lived and hunted is now called Chippens Hill. You can still hear his name mentioned when you talk about Chippen’s Hill Middle School, and Chippanee Golf Club among other notable town landmarks. As you can probably tell, he is pretty famous, even though most people don’t know it.

There is a Chippanee Golf Club in Bristol

Chippen’s Hill Middle School

Native Americans referred to as Zach, Bohemia and Poland were also recalled in Bristol’s early history, as was the Native American known as Morgan. Legend has it that two hunters, settlers named Gaylord and Ives were hunting for deer near Cedar Swamp. Gaylord is said to have seen Morgan taking aim at Ives with the intention of killing him while Ives concentrated on the deer. Gaylord shot Morgan and both men buried him in the area near the swamp. The area is still known today as Morgan’s Swamp.

Most people may think that Native Americans are not around today, but they are. There are lots of places that can give you more facts about Native Americans like the Pequot museum and Indian Rock right here in Bristol. There are also lots of web sites you can visit to find out more.

  We hope you learned lots of awesome facts about the Tunxis tribe. Thank you for reading this.Here are a few links to websites about the history of Bristol.

This is a great link to the history of the Tunxis Tribe!                                                                                                                                                                               

This is a great link to go to if you want to learn about the history of Bristol!