This Week in Concord History

April 10, 1829: While addressing a Merrimack County jury in Concord, the spellbinding lawyer Ezekiel Webster, brother of Daniel, drops dead. “He had spoken nearly a half hour, in full and unaltering voice, when the hand of death arrested his earthly course,” writes Judge Charles Corning.

April 10, 1865: A huge celebration in Concord marks the end of the Civil War. Mayor Moses Humphrey orders the city’s fire engines decorated and ready to move to the State House by 4:30 p.m. Bands play, cannons boom, church bells peal. After nightfall, there is a “general illumination” of the city and a 400-gun salute is fired.

April 10, 2001: The police arrest a Penacook man and charge him with arson and burglary in connection with recent vandalism at the United Church of Penacook.

April 11, 1793: A tragedy called The Revenge plays at the Town House, on the current site of the Merrimack County Courthouse. It is the first play to be staged in Concord. The city’s Mirrour calls it “a virtuous, sentimental and rational amusement to the respectable inhabitants of the town.”

April 11, 1984: Fire ravages the 125-year-old St. Paul’s Church in Concord, leaving only the walls, bell tower and half the roof intact. Firefighters have to smash a century-old stained glass window to ventilate the building and the floor beneath the altar collapses.

April 11, 1986: Chosen by the New York Yankees five years earlier as a 19th-round draft pick, Bob Tewksbury of Concord makes his first Major League start at Yankee Stadium. He defeats the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-2.

April 12, 1827: On Fast Day, Rev. Nathaniel Bouton, 27, delivers the first temperance sermon in Concord. Bouton’s words at the Old North Church ignite local participation in a social movement that will last more than a century. Bouton asserts in his sermon that he has investigated and found that “the use of ardent spirits in Concord” is “universal.” He claims that the 1,400 men in Concord consumed nearly 14,000 gallons of liquor in 1825. The Concord Temperance Society will be formed three years later. By 1843, nearly half of the city’s adult residents will have signed a prohibition pledge.

April 12, 1861: On a gray, drizzly morning in Concord, the telegraph at the Eagle Hotel brings news of the attack on Fort Sumter.

April 13, 1945: Responding to the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt the previous night in Warm Springs, Ga., John G. Winant of Concord, the U.S. Ambassador to England, says: “The greatest American of our age is dead.”

April 13, 1984: The school board in Danvers, Mass., hires away Concord School Superintendent Calvin Cleveland. During his six-year tenure in Concord, Cleveland was best known for an effort to close three neighborhood elementary schools. One, Millville School, did close. The other two, Dewey and Eastman, survived the cut.

April 13, 2003: A fire breaks out in an apartment building off East Side Drive in Concord, attracting the attention of Kyle Bissonnette, 12, Matthew Peters, 12, and Nate Bell, 10. Seeing flames shooting from a downstairs window in the Regency Estates apartment building, the three pull their bikes over and flag down a passer-by, who calls the police. Kyle and Matthew head into the building and start knocking on doors, making sure everyone is out and rousing residents who don’t hear the smoke alarms. Nate waits outside to make sure his friends come out okay. One apartment is destroyed in the blaze. Nobody is injured.

April 14, 1865: At 5 p.m., Congressman Edward H. Rollins, a Concord Republican, stops by the White House to seek a pass for a constituent to visit his wounded son in an army hospital. President Lincoln comes downstairs to oblige Rollins, writing a note to the secretary or war. It is the last official business Lincoln will conduct before going to dinner and the theater – and possibly the last time he will sign his name. After Lincoln is assassinated at Ford’s Theatre, Rollins keeps the dated, signed note.

April 14, 1945: In response to Gov. Charles Dale’s call for a day of mourning for President Roosevelt, the Monitor does not publish and all businesses close.

April 14, 1993: The Concord Fire Department, generally in the business of extinguishing fires, starts one: Environmentalists hope a controlled burn on 10 acres of grass at the Concord airport will improve conditions for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly.

April 15, 1861: Three days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the first call for troops reaches Concord by telegraph from Washington, D.C., at 8 a.m. Friends rush across to the Phenix Hotel to awaken Edward E. Sturtevant, a popular police officer and former printer. Sturtevant rushes to the State House and, fulfilling his fondest wish, becomes New Hampshire’s first Civil War volunteer.

April 15, 1865: At 2 a.m., the telegraph at the Eagle Hotel brings news that President Abraham Lincoln has been shot. At 7:22 a.m., Lincoln dies in Washington. Word spreads quickly in Concord, and crowds gather in the streets. At 9 p.m. many drift to former president Franklin Pierce’s mansard-roofed home on Main Street near Thorndike Street. A lantern illuminating his face, Pierce expresses his “profound sorrow and regret,” telling the crowd: “My best wishes to you all and for what we ought to hold most dear – our country – our whole country.”

April 16, 1965: After a major organizing and fund-raising effort by, among others, Dudley Orr, Russell Martin, Malcolm McLane and figure-skating Police Chief Walter Carlson, construction begins on the ice hockey rink that will become the Everett Arena.

April 16, 1967: The governor and Executive Council approve the state’s acquisition of 224.5 acres of marshland off Hoit Road in East Concord for a fish and wildlife preserve.

Author: Insider Staff

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