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.
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.
Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT.; 1764-1887, Compiled and
Published by Hamilton Child; May 1887)