History of Acton

Written by Randle Rash

When the first settlers came to what is now Acton, the Caddo, Comanche and other Indians held almost undisputed possession. As early as 1845 there were surveyors working in this area. Wild game abounded everywhere.

To those early settlers, the wild, ferocious and war-like Comanche were a constant menace. The Caddos and other tribes were more peacefully inclined and their friendship was cultivated by fair treatment. So well established was their friendship that when depredations were made by the war-like tribes, they helped ward them off.

Charley Barnard was among those first settlers, building a trading post near the Brazos River to trade with the Indians.

About 1852 Acton could be classified as a permanent settlement, known as Comanche Peak Post Office.

The village of Acton was named by a Mr. Hollis, its first merchant. Among the first settlers were W. L. Rippetoe, George Smart, Hiram Steel, the Allison family, and Peter James. G. B. Dillahunty came to Acton about 1854.

At this time Acton was the farthest west from Buchanan, the county seat of Johnson County. Between Acton and Buchanan was a stretch of uninhabited prairie about 15 miles wide, broken only by the Valley of Nolan River. Weatherford to the north was the next closest community. So we see that Acton was really an isolated settlement.

There were several Christian denominations represented by substantial people as early as 1855. About this date they united in the building of a church where each held services once a month. It is said that religious sentiment and regard seems to have prevailed among these people, more than was usual in this early period.

Soon after building the church, a cemetery was laid out. The wife of Wash Hutchison was the first death and burial here.

The first industry was the building of a water mill on Walnut Creek in 1855. Aaron Farris was the builder and a very enterprising man who, the same year, planted a crop of tobacco and a good crop was made.

Farris Mill was naturally a place of resort for the community where they took their grain to be ground, got tobacco and other merchandise which he kept at his house for sale. Some of the remains of this old mill can still be seen.

As soon as the church was completed, a school was started by Wm. Wright, the first school taught in the territory. About the same year Dr. J. C. Cornelious located at Acton, and in 1858 Dr. S. R. McPhearson came here from Parker County. He had an extensive practice riding up and down the Brazos practicing medicine. On his solitary rides, he often crossed the trails of the Indians.

About the time our community was formed, the Masons started building a hall here. This was done by conscription, people giving what they could, money, horses, cattle and their own work.

I talked with a lady a few years ago who told of her grandfather giving one of his best horses and coming and working several weeks on the rock building. She said he was always proud of his part in the building of Acton.

By the time the Masonic building was completed in 1867 or 68, many more good people had settled here: the Striblings, Doyles, Clevelands, Jones, Glenns, Masseys, Godletts, Lyles, Ben Tipton, H. T. Berry, P. H. Thrash.

My grandfather, S. A. Rash, settled on the Brazos below Fall Creek in 1856 or 57. Like all settlers in the area, he called Acton home.

Mail was brought from Buchanan to the Comanche Peak Post Office by settlers taking turns going after it, for a long period.

For a time Acton was a Star route from Granbury with Mr. Duckworth and then Mr. Kelley carrying the mail.

In 1903 Acton got a real mail service out of Granbury with Mr. Albert Tandy being the first carrier, followed by a Mr. Rice, Charlie Peveler, Roy Stone and J. D. McElhaney, who retired a few years back.

The stores in Acton changed owners every few years. The Clevelands, Sid Morris, Lunsford Rollins, Ernest Andrews, Jack Gee, Eldred Rash, John Tucker, G. E. Rash, Raymond Sue Perry Grocery, Jack Barron and at the present time Jack Gee and J. H. McClintock.

Farming and ranching have been the principal sources of income all of these years around Acton. Joe and Gilbert Wolford did the thrashing, starting with horse drawn power, then to steam, then gasoline. Around Cresson the Stewarts thrashed. Around here, Jim Massey and Joe White.

My grandfather Randle raised mules and horses. Many spans of matched teams left his farm.

Others who came to Fall Creek in the early days were the Henslees and the Keiths. About Civil War times the Matlocks, Masseys, and many other came. I’m sure I’ve left out many.

Acton today still has those names active in civic and church.

The above article was taken from a newspaper clipping found in the Acton archive file at the Granbury Depot. The newspaper and date were not identifiable but from a fragment of an adjoining article about the upcoming Hood County Centennial celebration it would indicate that the year was 1964. The newspaper was probably either the Hood County News or the now defunct Village Weekly. Randal Rash was a noteworthy Hood County Citizen and a founder of the Hood County Historical Commission. There is a plaque in the waiting room of the Historic Granbury Depot in his honor. His son, Andy Rash, is presently the proprietor of a Granbury Photography Studio.