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There were also a powder mill, three gristmills and four sawmills in town. The Fitchburg Railroad was routed through South and West Acton so that it could serve the mills.South Acton became a busy rail center and was the division point for the Marlborough Branch Railroad.
By the mid-19th century, Acton was an industrial center for the production of barrels (cooperage).The Acton minutemen were led by Captain Isaac Davis.When a company was needed to lead the advance on the bridge which was defended by the British regulars, Captain Davis was heard to reply, "I haven't a man who is afraid to go." The Acton men led because, unlike other militias there, they were fully equipped with bayonets.Males had a median income of 9,371 versus ,113 for females. About 1.7% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.4% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.Acton's history reflects the history of Massachusetts, New England, and the United States.