Acton, in York County, lies for its whole length of
9 miles along the New Hamshire border,— Salmon Falls River forming the boundary for three—fourths of this distance.
On the north is Newfield, and on the south, Lebanon. On the east, it is bounded by Shapleigh, from which it was
incorporated in 1830. Consequently much of its early history may be found under that head. Benpunm Kitnens, Clement
Steel and John York were the first settlers, locating at the center (Acton Corner) in 1776. At about the same time
a road was cut nearly through the town from north to south, which soon brought an increase of settlers. The first
grist mill was built in 1779.
A Congregationalist church was formed in 1781, and a pastor (Joseph Brown), first settled in 1796. Theirs was the
first meeting-house in town. It was built in 1794, about 2¼ miles south of Acton Corner. In 1827 the Society
erected a new meeting-house at Aeton Corner.
A Baptist church was formed in 1781, by Nehemiah Davis, who was the first minister. In 1802 their house of worship
was erected near the first Congregationalist house; and a new house was erected upon the same site in 1840.
The present Free Baptist church was formed in 1801, by Gershom Lord,—its first preacher. In 1818, a house of worship
was erected in the west part of the town near Milton Mills, near where their house of worship now stands. A second
society, called the Union Society of Acton was formed in 1840, and a house built the same year at the south of
A Methodist church was formed in 1826. Their first regular preaching was in 1837, by Henry Linscott. A meeting-house
was erected at Acton Corner in 1840.
The parsonage lot, consisting of about 300 acres, was sold in 1823, and 1843; the proceeds of the sale were divided
among the societies mentioned, according to the number of polls in each. There is now in addition to these a church
of the Christian denomination.
Ralph Farnum, a soldier of the Revolution, died in 1860 at the age of one hundred and four years. The town has
sent out many professional men.
In regard to scenery, the town is diversified with hill and hollow, and woods of oak, beech and maple. West of
the centre of the town is a remarkable valley surrounded by hills, and known as “The Hopper.” The carriage roads
are good, but there is no railroad in town; the nearest station being that in East Lebanon, on the Portland and
Rochester Railroad. The business centres named in the order of their importance are, Aeton Corners, Milton Mills,
North Acton and South Acton. The number of acres of land in the town is 18,127. Little Ossipee River and Baich
Pond form the northern boundary. Mousam River takes its rise from Square and Mousam ponds, at the eastern border
of the town. It has also the Hubbard, Bracket and Richer streams. Its chief water powers are on the Little Ossipee
river,— where are a saw and grist mill, and a felt mill—and at the head of Salmon Falls River, where there is a
saw mill for general work.
The bedrock in the town is granite and mica schist. The Acton mineral belt, from to 4 miles in width, crosses the
southern portion of the town. The ores consist chiefly of argentiferous galenas. There is also some zinc, arsenic
and. copper. Several companies are engaged in mining these ores.
Acton has fourteen public school houses; and the school property is valued at $4,000. The number of acres of land
in the town is 18,127. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $329,189. In 1880 it was $363,105. The population in
1870 was 1,007. In 1880, it was 1050.