History of Canaan, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886

Canaan lies in the southern part of Somerset County, and is bounded by Clinton, in Kennebec County, on the south. On the west is Skowhegan; north, Hartland; east, Pittsfield; all Somerset towns. Canaan is about 10 miles long, north and south, and 4 wide. Its area is 15,891 acres. The surface is generally rough. The northeastern part is occupied by an extensive bog; the north-western, by pine plains. The chief eminences are Goodwin and Chase hills and Barnesís Ledge, each about 600 feet in height. Sibley, Long and Round are the principal sheets of water. The first lies across the eastern border, and is two miles long by one wide. Lond Pond lies on the western line, and is one and a half miles long by one wide. The water surface of the town is about 500 acres. The outcropping rock is principally granitic. The soil is a clayey loam, and yields excellent crops of hay and potatoes. The town has four saw-mills manufacturing long and short lumber, and one grist-mill.. Canaan village, on the outlet of Sibley Pond, a little south-west of the middle of the town, is the centre of business. The place is 8 miles east of Skowhegan. being on the stage-line to Pislionís Ferry, on the Maine Central Railroad; 6 miles di3tant.

Canaan was a part of the Plymouth Patent, and was settled about 1770. Peter Ileywood was the first settler; and from him the locality became known as Heywoodstown. John Jones surveyed it for the proprietors in 1779. Its plantation name was Wresserunset, from the stream entering the Kennebec a few miles to the west. The name was chosen because the place seemed to them fair and fertile, like the land of promise. It was incorporated in 1788, at which time it embraced Skowhegan. The latter was set off from it in 1822. A post-office was first established in the town in 1793. The plantation records commence in 1783. Benjamin Shepherd was it first representative in the Legislature. Among the valued citizens of a later period should be mentioned Wentworth Tuttle, Levi Johnson, Sullivan Holman, and others whose full names are not yet forwarded. The town lost 18 men of her quota engaged in the Union cause in the war of the Rebellion.

The Rev. Nathan Whitaker was settled in 1784, and dismissed in 1788; Rev. Jonathan Calef succeeding him in 1794, and remaining five years. Rev. J. Cayford filled the pastoral office from 1809 to 1813. There are now in the town Universalist, Free Baptist, Advent and Christian societies, who use the church edifice in common. Amateur theatricals and. band concerts are the principal public entertainments. There is a public library of about 350 volumes. Canaan has twelve public schoolhouses, valued with the other school property at $5,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $346,395. In 1880 it was $350,573. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 13 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,472 In 1880 it was 1,281.

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