On his ancestral property in West Medford, Peter Chardon Brooks in 1805 built a home and turned the land into a model farm. The house was the fifth Brooks homestead erected since the 17th century when his forebears settled in the town. Brooks also bought land to the north and south of his house and beautifully landscaped the estate. Situated on Grove Street, the stone and timber “Elms Farm” mansion was an imposing and spacious structure which admirably suited the taste of its owner, who was one of New England’s most affluent men, and the needs of his wife and thirteen children. Charles Francis Adams was overwhelmed by the mansion and the style of living to which Abigail B. Brooks was accustomed. Depressed by his lack of means which dictated a long engagement, he wrote his fiancée: “You [have]
all your life been nursed in the midst of indulgence. Perhaps had I known you at home first ... I never should have ventured to have offered my prospects.... But I did not know how you had lived.” (Charles Francis Adams to Abigail B. Brooks, 31 October 1828, Adams Papers
.) On Peter C. Brooks’ death in 1849 the house was inherited by his eldest son, Edward Brooks (1793–1878). It survived until 1916. See Richard B. Coolidge, “The Brooks Estates in Medford from 1660 to 1927,” The Medford Historical Register,
30:1–20 (March 1927), and Richard B. Coolidge and Ruth D. Coolidge, “The Brooks Family of Medford,” same, 42:27–40 (June 1939).