New Canaan

Geographic position

41.1468° N, 73.4949° W


King, Mary Louise. Portrait of New Canaan: the history of a Connecticut town. New Canaan, CT: New Canaan Historical Society, 1981. Print. coordinates from

General note

New Canaan is a town located in southwestern Connecticut. The British colonists who settled in the Connecticut area in the 17th century fought in the Pequot War, and purchased land in what is now Fairfield County -- including Norwalk and Stamford -- from the Native people who occupied it, tribes known for their tobacco growing and wampum making. The local sachems continued to sell land to both towns, but the deeds often overlapped or were vague, which caused much confusion regarding land rights. In 1731, families in Norwalk and Stamford petitioned to establish Canaan Parish, and in 1801, the parish officially separated from Norwalk and Stamford to become the town of New Canaan. Occom travelled through New Canaan on several occasions during his preaching tours, as he recorded in his journals. Starting in the early 19th century, New Canaan’s economy shifted from agriculture to shoe making. In 1868, the railroad to Manhattan extended to New Canaan, making it an ideal location for wealthier homeowners who worked in New York City.