History of the Town of Acton - Early Occupations and Businesses

In Acton’s early days people were self sufficient, making a living on the land.  According to history, the land in many sections became so poor that many became discouraged and moved on.  The ridges were able to produce good crops; thus early settlers were prospered.

At first, the only place to get corn ground was a hand grist owned by Mr. Woodman.  IN 1779, when Joseph Parsons built his mill on the Salmon Falls River, many settlers found it convenient to use his services.  Hornes Mill became the home of a bog saw mill in 1790 and of a grist mill built in 1830, both erected by Benjamin Horne.  A hemp mill was built at about the same time.

Later a carding mill was built and operated by a Mr. Mullen who lived in the last house on the left before the Rt. 109 bridge entering NH. 

In 1837 a large felting mill was erected on the Salmon Falls River across from Milton Mills, NH.  An abundance of fine water power dictated the site.

A four-story shoe factory was built and operated above the Brackett Bridge on the Acton side.  This factory employed 200 people and stayed in operation until the 1920’s.  The building was later taken over and operated as a factory for the manufacture of polo cloth.

A tanning yard was operated not far from the Lincoln School in South Acton.  It was located in the first field on the left in the direction of the Winchell Orchard.  Hides were buried as a part of the tanning process. 

Irl Hurd opened a sawmill at the foot of Lowds hill on Fox’s Ridge.