Hampshire County -- Prescott

Prescott, Massachusetts
Incorporated: 1822
Dissolved: 1938
Parent Towns: Pelham, New Salem

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Research Resources Available Elsewhere

Compiled by Cindy Brown and Laurel O'Donnell

Vital Records

Available in the Walter E. Corbin Collection, comp. Walter E. and Lottie S. Corbin, microfilm edition published by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society: Reel 17: Norwich, Pelham, Prescott, South Hadley

Churches and Religious History

The first church in what became Prescott was designated the Second Parish of Pelham (eastern section of Pelham) in 1786, and the church was gathered in 1792 as a Presbyterian foundation. In 1809 the church could not support a minister. In 1823, following the town's organization, the church was reorganized as the First (Congregational) Church, incorporated in 1914.
The first minister was Rev. Matthias Cazur (installed 1794, dismissed 1798, d. 1837). Lay officers included Patrick McMillen and Daniel Grey.
As planning for the Quabbin Reservoir progressed, the church voted itself out of existence on June 24, 1928. The church building was taken to South Hadley, where it houses the Skinner Museum today.
Original records are deposited at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester.
Church Records 1823-1854 [with vital records to 1858 and some parish documents, 1786-1798].
"First Congregational Church, Prescott, Massachusetts 1858" 1858-1919.
"Prescott, Massachusetts: First Congregational Church . . ." 1914-1928, Congregational Library, Boston.
"Pelham-Prescott Church Records" Parish records 1768-1848.

Local Histories
Thomas Conuel, Quabbin: The Accidental Wilderness (Brattleboro: The Stephen Greene Press, 1981).
J.R. Green, The Creation of Quabbin Reservoir: The Death of the Swift River Valley (Athol: The Transcript Press, 1981).
Evelina Gustafson, Ghost Towns 'Neath the Quabbin Reservoir (Boston: Amity Press, 1948).
Donald W. Howe, comp., Quabbin: The Lost Valley (Ware: The Quabbin Book House, 1951).

Historical Societies

Swift River Valley Historical Society, located in the Whitaker-Clary House and North Prescott Church on Elm Street. Photographs and memorabilia offer a look at the history of the four towns that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir, as well as portions of New Salem that were lost. Displays include a fire truck, circa 1920, from the town of Dana and the New Salem guide post from the 1850's. The buildings housing the exhibits are historical structures. Open July and August, Wednesday and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m. Call 508-544-6882 or 413-548-9234 for more information.

Quabbin Reservoir, along Route 202, consists of 39 square miles of reservoir on 81,000 acres of reservation land. The Quabbin is a protected drinking water supply for nearly half the people of Massachusetts. I have been told the vital records for the "lost towns" of Enfield, Prescott, Dana and Greenwich are available here, call the MDC Quabbin Visitor Center at Winsor Dam in Belchertown at 413-323-7221 for further information.

Other Pertinent Links

Quabbin Reservoir with photographs from Prescott.
Satisfying the Thirst for Clean Water, Environmental Defense Fund.

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This page was last updated on July 12, 1999