This Week in Concord History

April 18, 1809: Isaac Hill, 21, publishes the first issue of the New Hampshire Patriot. He bought the American Patriot from William Hoit earlier in the year and changed its name. Hill’s Patriot will become a mighty organ for Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party, propelling Hill to the U.S. Senate and New Hampshire’s corner office.

 

April 18, 1861: During a week of cries for non-partisanship and a rush to volunteer for military service, the Independent Democrat of Concord reports: “Concord is full of the war spirit.”

 

April 18, 2000: State Rep. Elizabeth Hager receives the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Athena Award for business leaders who have boosted women. A former city councilor and Concord’s first female mayor, Hager is executive director of the United Way of Merrimack County.

 

April 19, 1865: On the day of President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral in Washington, Civil War veterans, in a procession with a band, march to services at Concord churches.

 

April 19, 1886: “That certain harbinger of spring, the straw hat, has appeared,” the Evening Monitor reports.

 

April 19, 1976: New England’s biggest April heat wave of the 20th century reaches its crescendo, and the temperature in Concord hits 95 degrees. It’s the third day in a row with a temperature of 90 or above and the fourth day in a row above 80.

 

April 19, 2003: Concord’s Dewey School will close in 2004-05, the Monitor reports. The students who attend the school’s kindergarten and first-grade classes will go to Kimball School, a few blocks away.

 

April 20, 1775: Concord’s Rev. Timothy Walker says to a neighbor: “We must fight, John, we must fight. There is no longer any alternative.” Captain Andrew McClary, meanwhile, leads 34 men on the 70-mile march to Cambridge, Mass., to oppose the British. By the end of the month, more than 2,000 New Hampshire Minutemen will be fighting under Col. John Stark.

 

April 20, 1826: Birth of Emma G. Bingum in Loudon. The adopted daughter of Countess Rumford, she grew up in Concord and became its oldest resident, dying in 1923 at the age of 97.

 

April 20, 1861: Former president Franklin Pierce, a Democrat and opponent of the Lincoln administration, speaks at the Eagle Hotel on the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. If civil war comes, Pierce declares, all people of the North must stand together. He closes with these words: “I would not live in a state the right and honor of which I was not prepared to defend at all hazards and at all extremities.”

 

April 20, 1945: Rumford Press officials announce that the company will double the size of its Concord operation. The building addition will cost $500,000.

 

April 20, 1965: Concord Police Chief Walter Carlson reports that the city’s population is up by 219 adults and 20 minors over 1964. The report also reveals there are 62 more dogs in the city this year than last.

 

April 21, 1861: Capt. Edward E. Sturtevant, Concord’s night constable and now the state’s first volunteer for service in the Union army, marches a squad of volunteers into South Congregational Church for Sunday services.

 

April 21, 1881: At 6 p.m., a small closed car drawn by a horse leaves Abbot & Downing shops for Fosterville. The ride ushers in the era of trolleys in Concord. The cars, made by Abbot & Downing, will carry 200,000 people in their first year of operation.

 

April 22, 1861: Meeting at the South Congregational Church, a group of Concord women organizes an effort to supply soldiers with “articles necessary to their comfort in the field.” They have raised $200 and resolve to spend $150 on flannel for shirts for the First New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

 

April 22, 1864: The Sanborn block, home to the offices of the New Hampshire Patriot, is destroyed by fire.

 

April 22, 2001: In informal interviews around Concord, voters say they were anything but shocked by the Legislature’s recent failure to pass any of four competing school tax plans. “I was dismayed,” says Linda Chadbourne, “but not surprised.”

 

April 23, 1945: Thirteen-year-old Larry West of Concord is killed with a 12-gauge shotgun. The weapon discharges accidentally while he is climbing a tree to shoot a porcupine.

 

April 23, 1843: Convinced that the end of the world is near, a considerable number of people in Concord and elsewhere neglect all worldly business and give themselves up to prayer. A few become insane, some destitute.

 

April 24, 1853: Miffed that Franklin Pierce, now president, has relegated him to a lowly clerical job, Benjamin Brown French reminisces in his journal about the early days of their friendship. In 1831, on the way to serve in the New Hampshire House, the two met in Hopkinton, Pierce on horseback, French in a chaise. In Concord, “we took rooms at Gass’s Eagle Hotel, nearly opposite each other, & then commenced a friendship that has been, on my part, almost an affection. From that day to this I have not wronged Frank Pierce in thought, word or deed.”

 

April 24, 1900: Harriet P. Dame dies in Concord at the age of 85. She was renowned for having ventured south with the 2nd New Hampshire Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. She served as a nurse and helpmate to the soldiers and was captured at Bull Run.

 

April 24, 1992: The Concord Monitor publishes its last afternoon edition. Henceforth it will be a morning paper.

 

April 25, 1893: Edward H. Brooks is born in Concord. A graduate of Concord High and Norwich University, he will serve in both world wars, rising to the rank of lieutenant general. A highlight of his long, distinguished career will be leading the Second Armored Division onto Omaha Beach. His division will also be the first Allied force to enter Belgium.

 

April 25, 1902: The statue of Commodore George H. Perkins of Hopkinton is dedicated behind the State House. Perkins was a Civil War naval officer who helped Admiral David Farragut take New Orleans and win the Battle of Mobile Bay. As the tablet on the statue records, Farragut called Perkins “the bravest man that ever trod the deck of a ship.”

 

April 25, 1965:Monitor political columnist Leon Anderson predicts a broad-based tax is coming soon: “We expect the day will dawn sooner than many think when Gov. John King and others will find themselves out in the political cold for refusing to sense New Hampshire needs a fat broad-based tax to let a bit of sunshine into homes and farms now buried in taxes. It has long been so-called good politics to oppose either a general sales tax or a state income levy. But the tide is turning.”

 

April 25, 1975: President Ford visits the state and is greeted at Concord airport and introduced to the Legislature by Gov. Meldrim Thomson. Thomson, however, has let it be known that he’s promoting a challenge to Ford in the presidential primary from former California governor Ronald Reagan – and, failing that, Thomson plans to run himself.

 

April 25, 1996: A packed house comes to the City Auditorium to hear five poets read in honor of Jane Kenyon, who was New Hampshire’s poet laureate when she died a year earlier. Among the readers are two Pulitzer Prize winners – Maxine Kumin and Charles Simic – and Kenyon’s widower, Donald Hall.

 

April 25, 2002: The Concord Fire Department’s new ladder truck, which caused hullabaloo among city councilors, fire administrators, fire union members and mayoral candidates last summer and fall, has arrived, the Monitor reports. The $688,000 truck is called a “tower ladder” because there’s a platform, or bucket, at the top capable of holding up to three people.

Author: Insider Staff

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