Frank C. Prescott, of Redlands, was born on November 15, 1859, at Ottawa, Lasalle County, Illinois, where he attended public schools. He moved to California in 1876.
General Prescott began his military career as a private in the Oakland Light Cavalry, National Guard of California, in 1878. Later, after relocating to Southern California, he assisted in the formation and was elected the First Lieutenant of the Redlands Guard, an independent company, which was mustered into the National Guard as Company G, Ninth Infantry, June 3, 1893.
In 1898, when the Seventh Regiment went to San Francisco and was mustered into the United States Volunteers, Major Prescott's battalion won especial notice for its fine discipline and drilling. Although the Seventh Regiment was not taken to the Philippines, Major Prescott secured a commission as Captain in the 53d Infantry, U.S.V., and saw active service during the Philippine Insurrection. He was then recommended for promotion as Major of volunteers by brevet for meritorious service. While in the Philippines his legal abilities were recognized and he was appointed Provost Judge of the Island of Samar, and was called upon to render services in a number of instances. He was detailed on the staff of General Hughes, and made supervisor of internal revenue for the Department of the Visayas. [A fuller account of General Prescott's services and those of his regiment in active field work in the Philippines as well as of the Seventh Regiment, will be found in the military history of the county].
In the fall of 1903, Major Prescott was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general in command of the First Brigade, N.G.C., by Governor Pardee.
Outside the military, Gen. Prescott began his career in the telegraph business in 1876. His uncle, George B. Prescott, was the first general electrician of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and one of the earliest writers on the subject of telegraphy. In the telegraph business, General Prescott occupied many important positions. He was manger of the San Diego office of the Western Union in 1887, chief operator of the Oakland office from 1878 to 1882, when the relaying business handled there prior to the laying of the cables across the Bay made a large force necessary. During the stirring times of the Geronimo campaign in Arizona he was manager of the Tombstone office and there formed the acquaintance of General Lawton. This acquaintance ripened into a lifelong friendship, which after years was useful to the one-time telegrapher in military activities.
Fifteen years of telegraphy, some of them spent in working the heaviest overland press wires out of San Francisco and Los Angeles, were broken by one year, 1883-84, in the newspaper business, as editor of the Santa Barbara Daily Independent.
The law, however, which from the beginning had been his ambition as a profession, claimed his best efforts and had been his study during all the years of telegraphy. At the April term, 1888, of the Supreme Court of California, at Los Angeles, he was admitted to practice law. He at once entered the office of John D. Bicknell, where he remained a year. Later he entered into a law partnership with Hon. R. B. Carpenter. Upon leaving Los Angeles in 1892, General Prescott moved to Redlands. Here, he was admitted to practice in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Ninth Judicial Circuit on July 1, 1889, and in the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of California on September 16, 1901. Here too, he served as the city attorney of Redlands. In January 1903 he entered into a law partner ship under the firm of Prescott & Morris, his office being located in San Bernardino.
In 1895 he was the law clerk of the judiciary committee of the assembly in the legislature of the state of California. The duties of this position brought him into touch with the greater part of the more technical points in law-making. In November, 1902, he was elected assemblyman of the Seventy-sixth assembly district, representing San Bernardino county. As legislator he was a member of the Ways and Means, Judiciary, Military, and State Hospital committees, also chairman of the Committee on State Library. In November 1904, he was re-nominated by acclamation for the same office by the Republican party. He served as Speaker of the House during the 36th Assembly.