Windham County

Variant name of place

County of Windham; Windham

Geographic position

41.8300° N, 71.9900° W


Larned, Ellen Douglas. History of Windham County, Connecticut: 1600-1760. Worcester, MA: Ellen Douglas Larned, 1874. Web. Bayles, Richard M. History of Windham County, Connecticut. New York: W.W. Preston & Co., 1889. Web. Geo coordinates from Occom, Samson. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan. Ed. Joanna Brooks. Oxford: Oxford UP: 2006. Print.

General note

Windham County is located in northeast Connecticut between the Connecticut River and the Atlantic coast. Prior to the European settlement of New England, the land that makes up Windham County was occupied by the Nipmuck Indians and was part of what was called Nipnet, meaning “the fresh water country.” The Quinebaug River served as a boundary in the area for different tribes, though these boundaries were often contested. The Nipmucks occupied the land east of the River and the Naraganssetts inhabited the land west of the River; the Wabbaquassets, Mahmunsqueegs, and Quinebaugs also occupied the area. About 30 years before European settlement in the area, the Pequots invaded this territory and claimed the land that would become Windham County for themselves. In the 1630s, the remaining Wabbaquassets began trading corn with John Winthrop’s settlement in Boston, which was in great need of food. The English settled Connecticut in 1634, and after the Pequot War in 1637, jurisdiction of the land went to Uncas, the leader of the Mohegan tribe that fought with the English against the powerful Pequots. For years after, the land was in contention among neighboring tribes. In 1652, John Winthrop Jr. purchased the land of Windham County territory from the Native people. Deeds continued to transfer this land to English colonists throughout the 17th century. After 1670, Native preachers established three Praying Towns in what would become Windham County, which was established in 1726 and was initially made up of 10 towns that previously belonged to the counties of Hartford and New London.Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, boundaries of the towns within Windham County shifted and some towns became territories in other counties such as New London and Tolland counties. One notable shift in town boundaries within Windham County is the 1786 reincorporation of part of the town of Windham—along with Pomfret, Brooklyn, Canterbury, and Mansfield—as Hampton, Connecticut. Ministers including the Moseleys (Samuel Moseley was one of the ministers who examined Occom for ordination) were born in the town of Windham and died in Hampton, Connecticut.