Learn about New World settlers

The Dutch, the English, the Indians, and the Deeds: 1640 through 1743 is a new seminar in Ridgefield Continuing Education. The proprietors of Ridgefield and other English settlers along the New York/Connecticut border bought nine pieces of property from the local natives.

The first six deeds were for the original land purchases and the last three purchases rebought the land that the proprietors lost in the 1731 Oblong Settlement. Some of this land had been sold to the settlers at least five different times since 1640. Why did they think the Native Americans had the legal rights to the land when these rights were ignored in other English settlements? The Indians retained their rights because of the complicated relations between the Dutch and the English, and the inability of the Province of New York and the Colony of Connecticut to establish a common border. The proprietors of Ridgefield took advantage of the wandering Connecticut border and the Indian rights as they purchased land for their town, and then tried to keep it intact.

Instructor Lynn-Marie Wieland is an archaeologist specializing in southern New England prehistory with a special interest in the Ridgefield-Ward Pound Ridge Reservation area. She has studied and written about the Indians living here from 6000 B.C. to 1743 A.D. The class meets Wednesday, April 19, from 10 to noon at the Venus building (old high school). Tuition is $31. Advance registration at ridgefieldschools.org or Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.