East Lyme Historical Society


The first inhabitants of the area were the Nehantic Indians. That group of Indigenous Peoples has been found to have lived here at least 10,000 years. The Nehantics were recorded as a quiet, shy and peaceful group with summer huts along the shore where there was an abundance of seafood.  In the winter they moved to their longhouses in the hills where game was plentiful.  The tribe was split with the arrival of the Pequot Indians around 1600 and some went to Rhode Island and joined with the Narragansett’s and became referred to as the Eastern Nehantics.  Those who stayed were known as the Western Nehantics. With the arrival of the Mohegan Tribe many Nehantics joined and married with the newcomers.  In 1880 the Nehantic Tribe was declared extinct, though there were still some people with Nehantic roots living in this area and at Mohegan.  

Each summer Nehantic descendants gather at the Thomas Lee House grounds to share their family history.