This Week In Concord History

May 12, 2003: The Concord City Council continues its green-tinged track record when it approves a plan to conserve 28 acres of land near Walker State Forest. The decision comes two weeks after a lengthy debate over whether the city should encourage housing developments or preservation projects deadlocked the council and left a group of tree-loving neighbors wondering what to do next.

May 12, 2002: Democratic gubernatorial candidates Sen. Bev Hollingworth and Sen. Mark Fernald attended a forum in Concord with members of the state employees’ union, the Monitor reports. Both painted themselves as pro-labor, both said they had pushed for higher wages, improved benefits and better working conditions for state employees, and both supported replacing the statewide property tax with an income tax.

May 12, 1903: In a referendum, voters in Concord and New Hampshire’s other cities approve the licensing of liquor sales. Prohibition, honored in the breach, has been in effect since 1855, but the manufacture of spirits is permitted. The licensing referendum passes in 60 towns, but 144 others vote to stay dry. Voter turnout is 75 percent.

May 12, 1944: At their annual convention in Concord, Methodist clergymen follow the lead of Rev. J. Lester Hankins of Dover in voting 32-25 in favor of a pacifist platform. Among the tenets: opposition to the draft and the inclusion of conscientious objectors in the definition of those serving their country.

May 12, 1989: Democratic Rep. Pat Schroeder comes to New Hampshire for the first of two consecutive weekends to explore a possible presidential candidacy in 1992. “Will I have a woman candidate to vote for in the New Hampshire primary?” a Concord voter asks her. “I don’t know,” Schroeder answers. She will later decide not to run.

May 13, 2002: In an effort to entice its sophomores to perform better on the state’s standardized tests, Concord High School offers the incentives of bagels, apple pie and candy bars, as well as entry into a lottery for more than $1,200 in prizes and gift certificates donated by downtown merchants. “They pretty much bribed us to do well,” says Meagan Jameson, 17.

May 13, 1726: A group of Massachusetts colonists with a royal land grant arrive to settle Penny Cook. They find Judge Sewall, the first white settler, living on his 500-acre tract on the east side of the Merrimack.

May 13, 1982: Concord City Councilor Robert Washburn asks the city solicitor to draft a resolution calling for City Manager Jim Smith’s resignation. He says Smith’s appointments demonstrate “a lack of maturity in judgment. He has consistently appointed liberals to do Lord knows what.” Washburn does not have the support of the council, and Smith will hold onto his job for several more years.

May 14, 2001: About 60 state lawmakers take part in a “firearms orientation day” in Dunbarton, part of a lobbying effort by Gun Owners of New Hampshire. Afterward Concord Rep. Candace Bouchard says she enjoyed the target shooting but didn’t change her mind about the need for gun control laws.

May 14, 1726: Having made camp near the Merrimack River the night before, a surveying party of 34 men from Haverhill, Mass., fans out in the fields and woods of what will one day be Concord.

May 14, 1977: Two convicted murderers escape from the state prison. They are Edgar Clifford Avery Jr., convicted of slaying a Concord woman, and Cleo R. Roy, sentenced to life after pleading guilty to killing a Manchester police officer.

May 14, 1993: A mother and her children narrowly avoid death when a fast-moving fire rips through their Royal Gardens apartment. Fire investigators will later report that half the fire alarms at the complex don’t work.

May 15, 1726: At Sugar Ball in East Concord, Enoch Coffin, a Congregationalist minister, preaches at the first Christian service in the future Concord. His congregation is a group of men who have come from Massachusetts Bay Colony to survey the Plantation of Penny Cook.

May 15, 1727: A Congregational church, Concord’s first, is ready for occupancy. It is a 40-by-25-foot log structure at North Main and Chapel streets. The logs are thick enough to be bullet-proof, and the church, though windowless, has port-holes through which to shoot Indians.

May 15, 1979: Speaking to the Concord Rotary, presidential candidate Bob Dole quips: “I don’t belong to any organized group. I’m a Republican.”

May 15, 1987: The New Hampshire House kills Gov. John H. Sununu’s pet amendment to make AIDS testing mandatory for all couples applying for marriage licenses.

May 15, 1908: Unable to keep up with the Concord City Auditorium for live shows, Manager Ben White of White’s Opera House begins showing continuous motion pictures and illustrated songs every day but Sunday. Admission is a dime for adults a nickel for children. The songs are by Fred Rushlow. This venture will prove an immense success.

May 15, 1983: Auditions for an amateur production of Annie draw 23 little girls to Concord’s Phenix Theatre. “You need not be afraid. None of us can sing so whatever you can do will be fine,” says producer Norman Leger.

May 16, 1893: After a sensational trial in the killing of a young woman who jilted him, Frank C. Almy, also known as George Abbott, is executed at the state prison. He is the ninth man hanged in New Hampshire and the last before capital punishment is repealed. It will be resumed in 1916. The execution is botched, the rope slipping over Almy’s head as he falls. Over his protests, he is quickly hanged again – and efficiently. There are rumors afterward that Almy’s body has been stolen, but Warden George W. Colbath assures the public that he knows precisely where it is buried.

May 17, 2003: Speaking at the graduation ceremony for Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry urges the 206 graduates that it is their responsibility to practice law in a way that would halt the growing suspicion of the profession. “This law degree, particularly from Franklin Pierce Law Center, doesn’t give you the privilege of standing apart from our society, just taking care of your self,” Kerry says. “It demands that you give meaning to the word citizen.”

May 17, 1995: Concord Police Chief David Walchak calls on Gov. Steve Merrill to veto the Legislature’s decision to join the multi-state lottery Powerball. “We’re disappointed in the Legislature for passing it,” says Walchak, a leading member of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, “and we’re disappointed with anybody who permits the expansion of gambling in New Hampshire.”

Author: Insider staff

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