Founding Rye & Early Settlement
When the first English settlers arrived in Rye in 1660, the area was inhabited by the Siwanoy or Algonkian nation. The Siwanoy lived off the bounty of the land in seasonal campsites, spending the spring and summer along Long Island Sound and moving inland in the fall. They grew corn, beans and pumpkins and relied on abundant oysters, other shellfish and small game. Their dwellings or wigwams were dome-shaped, built by lashing bent poles together and covering the structure with bark or thatched reeds, thus enabling quick assembly and easy transportation.
On January 3, 1660, three Greenwich residents, Peter Disbrow, John Coe and Thomas Studwell, signed an agreement with the Siwanoy to acquire the land between Long Island Sound and the Blind Brook, known as Peningo. Later in 1660, the same settlers acquired Manursing Island, paying 8 coats, 7 shirts and 15 fathom of wampum. They named their village “Hastings” after a coastal town in England. By the time additional settlers arrived in 1664, there was no more room on Manursing. The new settlers built their cabins on the mainland where Playland and Rye Town Park are now located and named their settlement “Rye” after another English coastal town. In 1665, Hastings and Rye merged and the village on Manursing Island was abandoned.