Our Indian Heritage

Samp Mortar Rock is a seventy foot cliff that runs behind the houses on Holly Dale and Rolling Ridge roads. Samp Mortar itself was the name the colonists gave to a sticky porridge made by the Indians from corn ground in the natural bowls at the top of the cliff.

As to the name, “Samp Mortar”, the following excerpt from Elizabeth Banks’ THIS IS FAIRFIELD 1639-1940 may be of interest:

“… about two miles from the village of Fairfield is a granite rock… which I shall designate by the title it has owned for a century past. It is called “Samp Mortar Rock” from circumstances of its having on its top, “an excavation in the form of a mortar, and of sufficient dimension to contain upward of a half bushel of corn or other grain. The tradition is that it was used by the native Indians for the purpose of pounding their corn.”

The land around Samp Mortar Lake was inhabited by the Sasqua Indians to the west of the Mill River, and by the Pequonnock Indians to the east. The area below Samp Mortar Rock was home to a small tribe of Mohicans.

An interesting family outing is to search out the legendary mortar, which remains today on Samp Mortar Rock.

The Indian connection was maintained the Lake Hills are when, in 1952, the Fairfield Historical Society was asked to assist the developer in selecting authentic Indian names for the streets of the new development. Some of the Indian related names are:

  • Nepas – meaning “The Little Riser:
  • Nonopoge – name of a Sasqua Indian who testified in a land case – means “Fresh Water or Pond”.
  • Papurah – first signer of the Stratford Confirmation in 1684 – means “A Winter Fish which comes up the Brooks”<
  • Ponuncamo – chief of the Sasqua – means “He paddles or rows a boat”
  • Romanock – great warrior from an inland tribe
  • Sasapequan – means ‘He Spread Out”
  • Winnepoge – brother of Nonopoge, also testified for the town in the Sasqua Land Case – means “Pleasing Water”
  • Siacus – means “He is a Hard Fighter, Stoutman”
  • Tahmore – Indian Princess, daughter of Chief Onee-to of the tribe that lived near Samp Mortar Rock-means “Hearts Together”
  • Taquoshe – means “He is Short, Low in Stature”
  • Creconof – means “He goes among, mingles with them”
  • John Wampus – for whom Wampus Way is named, married Praske, daughter of Romanock