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Morris is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 2,256 at the 2020 census. Europeans first began to settle the area that became Morris about 1723. Originally part of the town of Litchfield, it was called the South Farms because of its location 5 miles south of the center.
The Morris/Litchfield region lay in the borderlands between Mahican territory to the north and west and Paugussett land to the south and southeast. Both peoples were part of an Algonquian language population that extended up the coast in a wide swath from Virginia to Canada. Those in the immediate area, the Potatuck, were a Paugussett subgroup.
The Potatuck were woodland dwellers whose bark wigwam and longhouse villages typically housed anywhere from 50 to 200 individuals. Their social structure was relatively simple and egalitarian. Kin groups were matrilineal, and women held authority over land rights and transfer.
Potatuck women gathered wild plants and fruits and raised the “Three Sisters” crops of squash, beans, and maize (corn), though there is some evidence that they began to cultivate maize only in the decades just before English settlers came to New England. Men fished and hunted deer and small game, also growing tobacco for ritual use. The Potatuck used fire as a tool for clearing underbrush to facilitate both hunting and planting. Some may have moved to the shore of Long Island Sound to fish and gather shellfish during the summer.
Like other first peoples in the northeast, the Potatuck believed in a Creator. His lodge, which lay to the west, was where worthy men and women went after they died. Individuals had spiritual guardians. These could be inanimate objects or ghosts but most often were animals. Festivals and other rituals taught that humans are part of nature — neighbors with plants and animals, which also possess spirits. Given their interdependence with the rest of creation, people were taught to respect and seek harmony in their physical and social environments and between earthly and spiritual worlds.