About This Place
Canaan is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,909 at the 2010 census. It is the location of Mascoma State Forest. Canaan is home to the Cardigan Mountain School, the town's largest employer.
The main village of the town, where 524 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined as the Canaan census-designated place (CDP), and is located at the junction of U.S. Route 4 with New Hampshire Route 118.
Chartered in 1761 by Governor Benning Wentworth, the town was named after the hometown of many early settlers, Canaan, Connecticut, which had been named for the biblical land of Canaan. It was settled in the winter of 1766-1767 by John Scofield, who arrived with all his belongings on a hand sled. With an unbroken surface, the town was suited for agriculture. The Northern Railroad (predecessor of the Boston & Maine Railroad) arrived in 1847, spurring development. Water powered mills were built on the streams. By 1859, when the population was 1,682, Canaan had one gristmill, three lath and clapboard mills, and one tannery.