Couple works to learn history of historic Mason home

  • Elias Elliot’s and his wife’s tombstones at the entrance to the farmstead built in 1762 Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • The newer part of the home on the right Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • The Elliot farmstead, built in 1762. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • The dining room. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • The view from the kitchen window. Mitchell Hill Road used to run across the field. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • Amanda Cannon points out the nails in the house’s original floorboards that were used to create the table in their kitchen. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • The brick bread oven and stovetop in the kitchen. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • Jack the cat, lounging at the bottom of the driveway Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • Elliot Farmstead —Courtesy Photo

  • Amanda and Matt Cannon. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • Amanda and Matt Cannon. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • Some items found around the property. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • An old newspaper stuffed in between the fireplace and floorboards that Amanda pulled out. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

  • The collapsed bridge. Rowan Wilson—Staff Photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/14/2022 9:02:38 AM

At the end of Black Brook Road in Mason, the lush June forest opened up. The driveway skewed left and ran between a white clapboard home and a lawn lined with thick-trunked maple trees. To the right, a logging road ran into the forest. But straight ahead, slightly up a grassy incline where a welcome sign might sit, were two tombstones, rectangular chunks of granite stacked up the hill. The engravings on the two stones were well-worn and filled in with lichen. There was a border around each name.

Matt Cannon said, “That’s Elias Elliot and his wife.”

Elias built the home in 1762, and it was in the Elliot family for 157 years.

The house was owned by a few other families, and then at the end of March 2022, Matt and Amanda Cannon bought the Elliot homestead and moved in with their family and their business, Autumn Frost Farm. They’ve been busy building their farm back up on the new property, clearing the heavily weeded fields and dealing with predators preying on their chickens.

But they’ve also been curious.

Ever since arriving, the Cannons have been fascinated by their home’s history, and they’ve learned a lot in the last few months. They’ve been in touch with local historians and have been able to get documents and old deeds. They’ve uncovered discoveries inside the home and on their property and they are excited to continue to explore. Matt has started building a timeline for the farm’s website, adding information on the farmstead and the Elliot family as he learns more.

Although the Cannons can’t be positive the founding bodies are buried at the entrance to their home, they think there’s a good chance they really are. They discovered an Elliot family plot in a graveyard down the street, but these Elliots weren’t there.

The right side of the house was the original structure. The left side was added later, in the 1800s. The porch in the old section leads into the kitchen. It’s bright and clean. It feels fully functional as a modern kitchen, but there are elements that are undeniably older. Amanda peeled back the tablecloth and revealed thick boards, a row of nails. The table was made from the original floorboards. There’s a brick bread oven on one wall, added after the home was built, and the view over the sink looks out at a field recently cleared by the Cannons. A couple hundred years ago, Mitchell Hill Road would have run through that field and the house would have faced that direction.

Amanda pointed out what would have been the front door in the newer section, similar to the front door on the other side. “The two sides of the house sort of mirror each other,” she said.

Mitchell Hill Road is still an active road that connects to Wilton; it just doesn’t extend into the Cannons’ property anymore.

The majority of the 522 acres they now own in Mason is wooded land protected under a conservation easement. Amanda explained that the easement allows for forestry, agriculture and low-impact recreation like hiking. There’s a logging road that runs into the woods, eventually connecting to a trail that leads to the ruins of a grist mill. Just the foundation is left, hunks of granite built around a stream flowing from a pond up on higher ground. The mill would have had a water wheel.

“It was really breathtaking the first time we did this run,” Amanda said, looking down at the ruins hidden by the foliage. A little bit farther along the path was the remnants of a bridge that would have connected the grist mill to the house more directly from Mitchell Hill Road. The bridge had been built in the 1700s and collapsed during a storm. Now the huge stones sit in piles in the river on either side.

“You see these stones and think people must have moved all this by hand,” Matt said, “Just incredible.”

Matt started farming “because I wanted to know where my food was coming from,” he said. He and Amanda started Autumn Frost Farm in New Ipswich a few years later.

But “we were running out of space there,” said Amanda. So they started looking for a new home. “We thought we were going to have to go further for this much land,” she said.

The Cannons are excited about the space, but there’s a lot to maintain. Matt explained that the weeds are really invasive, he ran into poison ivy and “predators have been a huge problem.”

“There are foxes, coyotes, we’ve seen a bobcat,” he said. “There are fishers and a bear.”

The Cannons raise laying and meat chickens, along with turkeys, and will raise pigs again once they get the permit for their new land. Their goal is to create a local “butcher box” or a meat CSA. During the pandemic, Amanda started delivering orders and it has been successful.

“I tell everyone I live in the most-magical place on earth. They say, ‘Isn’t that Disney?’ No, it’s my house,” Amanda said.

Amanda and Matt are interested in learning more about the history of their home. If anyone has any information or photos, they can be contacted on their website,

Sign up for Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Newsletters
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Headline Alerts
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute North
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute South
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Real Estate & Transactions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Contests and Promotions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Dining & Entertainment
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Sports


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458


© 2021 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy