Canaan lies in the extreme northeastern corner of the county and state, in lat. 44º 57', and long. 5º 22', and is bounded north by Hereford, in Canada, east by the Connecticut river, southwest by Lemington and Averill. It has an area of little over twenty-nine square miles, or 18,700 acres. It was chartered by Vermont to John Wheeler and others, February 25, 1782, but had previously been granted to Jonathan and Arad Hunt, and William Williams. The town of Norfolk which was chartered to Bezaleel Woodward, February 27, 1782, was annexed to Canaan, but both being small townships leaves Canaan still smaller than most of the towns in the state. 

       The town is watered by Leach stream, Willard brook and other small streams, which affords some good mill privileges. Leach stream is about two rods wide at its junction with the Connecticut, and flows from Leed's pond which is partly in Canada. There are some fine meadows on the Connecticut and much good land in other parts of the town. 

       In 1880,  Canaan had a population of 637. It adopted the town system of schools in 1885. In 1886 it had five common schools, taught during the year by one male and eight female teachers, who received an average weekly salary, including board, of $9.18 and $6.11, respectively. There were 173 scholars, four of whom attended private school. The entire income for school purposes was $752.31, while the total expenditures were $783.48, with Henry W. Lund, superintendent. 

       Canaan is a post village located in the eastern part of the town. 

       South Canaan is a post village located in the southern part of the town. The town was settled by Silas Sargeant, John Hugh and Hubbard Spencer, who moved their families into town in 1785. As a frontier town it was subjected to considerable disturbance during the War of 1812.  It was in this town that one Beach was shot by John Dennett, an officer of customs, a, fuller account of which is found in the County Chapter. Much feeling was shown in the different broils attendant on the collection of revenues, and the prevention of contraband articles of war being smuggled to the enemy. 
 

(Source: Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT.; 1764-1887, Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 415-416)

This excerpt was provided by Tom Dunn.