Prescott Massachusetts, 1890
Prescott forms the northeast angle of Hampshire County, and is about 100 miles west of Boston. The Athol and Enfield Branch of the Boston and Albany Railroad passes through the southeast corner, and has stations in the adjoining towns east and south. Its territory is in the form of an inverted L. New Salem bounds it on the north, Dana and Greenwich on the east, the latter and Enfield on the south, and Pelham and Shutesbury on the west. Its assessed area is 11,007 acres; and there are about 2,300 acres of forest, consisting chiefly of chestnut and pine.
Prescott is a pleasant farming town of 448 inhabitants, 142 legal voters, 109 taxed dwelling-houses, and 111 farms. The products of the last are of the usual variety, and were valued in 1885 at $63,9992, The soil of this town is strong, yellow loam, but hard to till. There are some domestic manufactures of hats. There are several saw-mills, making lumber, boxes, whip-stocks, etc. The valuation in 1888 was $177,330, with a tax-rate of $13 on $1,000. There are 5 public school-houses valued at about $2,000. The churches are the Congregationalist and the Methodist at North Prescott; where there is also a Baptist church at the border of New Salem.
Swift River forms the entire western line of this town, expanding into a large pond near the southern border. In the northeast are Gibbs', Hackmetac and other small ponds, discharging into the Middle Branch of Swift River. From the valley of this stream, on the eastern border, Mount Ell rises abruptly, a striking feature in the landscape. Rattlesnake Mountain, on the western border, rises precipitously from the valley of Swift River to the height of 270 feet. Daniel Shays, leader of the "Whiskey Rebellion," in 1786, resided for a considerable period near the summit of this hill.
This town was formed of the east part of Pelham and the south part of New Salem, and incorporated January 28, 1822. It was named for Dr. Oliver Prescott, who was instrumental in suppressing Shays' Rebellion. The town furnished 40 soldiers for the armies of the Union in the late war, of whom six were lost.
Pp. 549-550 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890