Pelham Massachusetts, 1890
Pelham is a sparsely inhabited town lying in the northeast part of Hampshire County about 76 miles west of Boston. The New London and Northern Railroad, which passes through the centres of the two towns adjoining on the south and west, furnishes the nearest railroad connection. The boundaries of this town are Shutesbury on the north, Prescott on the east, Enfield and Belchertown on the south, and Amherst on the west. The assessed area is 14,156 acres. There are upwards of 5,000 acres of woodland, containing most of the New England varieties of trees. The whole township has an unusual elevation; and there are ranges of forest-crowned hills in the east and west, while in the south Mount Lincoln rises to a height of 1,246 feet. Pine Hill rises near the centre of the town. The geological structure is sienite;: and asbestos, molybdenite, quartz crystals and green hornstone are found. A huge bowlder called "The Northerner" has many visitors. Swift River forms the eastern line, and midway broadens into a large pond; near which is situated the village of East Hollow. Fort River and its tributaries flow through the valleys of the western section. Jabish River runs through the square southern projection in which lies the village of Packardville. The other villages are West Pelham and Pelham (Heights), near the centre, — both post-offices.
The product of the 116 farms in this town in 1885 was valued in the aggregate at $77,871. There is one saw mill employing six persons, and a fishing-rod factory employing about the same number. Charcoal and kindlers are prepared for market, and some quarrying is done. The value of goods made was reported as $34,347. The population was 549, of whom 168 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $168,186, with a tax-rate of $24 on $1,000. There were 139 dwelling-houses.
The four public school-houses are valued at some $2,000. There are a union, a Congregationalist and a Methodist church.
This township was purchased by Colonel Stoddard, of Northampton, and was sold by him to some Scotch-Irish people. It was incorporated January 15, 1742 and named Pelham, in honor of that celebrated family in England. The Rev. Robert Abercrombie, from Edinburgh, the first minister, was ordained here in 1744.
p. 533 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890