This Week in Concord History

Dec. 13, 1863: Major Edward E. Sturtevant of Concord, a member of the Fifth New Hampshire Infantry and the state’s first Civil War volunteer, is killed leading his regiment in a suicidal assault during the Battle of Fredericksburg. His body is not found. His men assume it is one of many stripped and buried on the field.

 

Dec. 13, 1999: A move by the Clinton administration to permanently restrict new logging roads on federally owned forests, including the White Mountains, gets an icy reception at two hearings in Concord. Loggers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts and environmentalists all join in the criticism, fearing a reduction in local decision-making power.

 

Dec. 14, 1955: A train conductor uncoupling an engine from the freight train in Concord gets his foot caught between the rail and guard rail and is then run over by the train and crushed to death, the Coos Republican reports.

 

Dec. 14, 1984: The six New England governors agree to support a uniform drinking age of 21. Only Rhode Island’s is currently 21. New Hampshire’s is 20.

 

Dec. 14, 1999: For the first time in more than a decade, the Concord teachers union authorizes its leadership to call for a strike vote if a settlement on a new three-year contract is not reached within the week.

 

Dec. 14, 2000: About 5 inches of snow falls in Concord, the first of the white stuff for the season. Several ski areas farther north report between 6 and 8 inches.

 

Dec. 14, 2002: Nearly 30 years after Patricia Immen worked as a bookmobile clerk for the Concord Public Library, she’s appointed as the library’s new director, the Monitor reports.

 

Dec. 15, 1987: Just before noontime, Gary Hart and his wife Lee stroll onto the State House Plaza, where the media horde waits. After having dropped out in May because of highly publicized womanizing, Hart announces that he is back in the Democratic race for president. “I have the power of ideas,” he says, “and I can govern this country.”

 

Dec. 16, 1965: A new state report shows public libraries in New Hampshire spend an average of $2.32 per resident. Concord tops the list at $4.06 per resident. Book readership is also up statewide, to 6.71 books per resident per year.

 

Dec. 17, 1808: Three years after a state prison is proposed in Concord, the Legislature authorizes a committee of three to accept bids for building one. It will be nearly four years before the prison opens on North State Street at Tremont Street. It will be a three-story, 36-cell structure surrounded by granite walls three feet thick and 14 feet high. The cost: $37,000.

 

Dec. 17, 1828: Ralph Waldo Emerson, who is under serious consideration for the job of assistant pastor to the Second Church in Boston (the Mathers’ church), visits Concord. He and Ellen Tucker, whom he met the previous Christmas, become engaged to marry. He is 25, she 17.

 

Dec. 17, 1951: The temperature in Concord falls to 22 below zero, making this the coldest December day of the 20th century.

 

Dec. 17, 1992: Gov. Judd Gregg orders a pagan symbol removed from the State House lawn. The young man who erected it goes to court, where Steven McAuliffe, in his first major decision as a federal judge, overrules Gregg’s order.

 

Dec. 17, 2001: Concord mayor Bill Veroneau ends his 16-year council career on a high note, as the council approves the money for the completion of the southern leg of the Northwest Bypass. “My six years as a ward councilor and 10 years as mayor have always been exciting, never boring and continuously filled with action,” he says. “Tonight is an example.”

 

Dec. 18, 1995: Concord’s Bob Tewksbury signs a one-year contract with the San Diego Padres for $1.5 million.

 

Dec. 18, 2000: For the first time in anyone’s memory, a crowd gathers at the State House to watch the casting of votes for president by New Hampshire’s four members of the Electoral College. The electors all choose George W. Bush, doing their part to ensure his narrow victory over Al Gore.

 

Dec. 18, 2001: David Rayment, a lawyer representing the Richmond Co., the Massachusetts company that wants to build a supermarket and shopping center adjacent to the South End Marsh, argues in a hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court that the Concord Planning Board unfairly rejected the project. Superior Court Judge John Arnold will later rule that the board did not provide the developers with enough evidence to support its decision to reject the proposal.

 

Dec. 19, 1979: At a campaign stop in Concord, Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker says a get-tough policy is needed to protect American embassies and suggests the creation of a special 50,000-member military unit to accomplish that. “As dangerous as the situation is in Iran, the real danger to this country is the growing impression throughout the world that you can push on Uncle Sam and nothing ever happens in return,” he says.

 

Dec. 19, 2002: Appearing before a judge for the first time since their arrests, the Weare police officers accused of gatecrashing at the Hopkinton State Fair last August watch as their lawyer seeks to undermine the case against them. The investigation that led to the arrests of Sgt. James Carney and Officer Hicham Geha was mishandled, attorney Tony Soltani argues in Concord District Court. Soltani also disputes the accuracy of the eyewitness accounts collected by Hopkinton’s investigating officer, Lt. Anthony Shepherd, who is prosecuting the case.

Author: Insider Staff

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