This Week in Concord History

May 23, 1864: The Monitor is published for the first time. The city’s first daily newspaper, it is founded “to present the news . . . swearing to the words of no master.”

 

May 23, 2003: New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord graduates its largest-ever class, handing out 528 two-year associate’s degrees.

 

May 24, 1844: Samuel F.B. Morse, who began his career as a Concord mechanic, sends the first message over his electro-magnetic telegraph. The previous year, Congress appropriated $30,000 to test the machine on a line laid from Washington to Baltimore. New Hampshireman Benjamin Brown French, who will soon join Morse and others in the Magnetic Telegraph Co., calls it “one of the greatest inventions of the age” and predicts it will “eventually be laid down all over the Union.”

 

May 24, 1944: The Legislature unveils a plaque on the 100th anniversary of the first message Samuel F.B. Morse’s sent on his invention, the telegraph: “What God hath wrought.” Morse lived in Concord as a young portrait painter and married Lucretia Pickering Walker, a descendant of Concord’s first minister, Timothy Walker.

 

May 24, 2002: The Concord Police Department’s proposed budget includes $4,500 to install video surveillance equipment in Bicentennial Square, the Monitor reports. According to Police Chief Jerry Madden, business owners and residents have complained about vandalism and vulgarity there for years.

 

May 25, 1817: An infant son of William H. Gage is drowned in the canal opposite a saw shop in Penacook. The body will be recovered nine days later in the Merrimack River, 7 miles away.

 

May 25, 1860: Having drilled diligently on the old fairgrounds near today’s Airport Road, the 5-month-old Governor’s Horse Guard makes its first public appearance. The occasion is to welcome former president Franklin Pierce and his wife home from a long vacation. The guard meets the Pierces at the train station and escorts them to the Eagle Hotel.

 

May 25, 1861: The First New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment, marching under former congressman Mason Tappan of Bradford, marches down Concord’s Main Street en route to a train for the front. As Tappan rides past the Phenix Hotel, an observer finds him “a little anxious, not exactly glad to go, but ready to do a soldier’s duty.” The train carrying the men south comprises 18 passenger cars and 20 freight cars. The journey to Washington will take three days.

 

May 25, 1944: The Monitor’s lead photograph on page one, an illustration of the state’s severe labor shortage, shows three blind men working at the New England Briar Pipe Co. in Penacook.

 

May 25, 1983: Return of the Jedi debuts in Concord and 700 people turn out to watch. “My kids have been talking about this for three months,” says Lynn Ring of Northwood. “Is there any other movie?”

 

May 25, 2002: Nearly 400 students graduate from New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, marking the college’s first year as an accredited school in its 35-year history.

 

May 26, 1775: New Hampshire’s Provincial Congress establishes a committee of safety. This body will act as an executive branch of government in New Hampshire throughout the American Revolution.

 

May 26, 1944: After several destructive incidents, the police join school officials in urging young people not to play with handmade grenades. The grenades are filled with carriage bolts and use match heads for the explosive charge. Children have been reported making and throwing them throughout the city.

 

May 27, 1727: New Hampshire’s Legislature grants a charter to a township that includes most of present-day Concord and Bow and part of Pembroke. Because Massachusetts had drawn different boundaries for a similar area, the charter led to much confusion over jurisdiction and – more important – tax collection.

 

May 27, 2002: For the 26th straight year, the Concord boys’ tennis team reaches the Class L semifinals. They get to the Final Four with an 8-1 victory over No. 7 Portsmouth at Memorial Field.

 

May 28, 1773: The New Hampshire Assembly, forerunner of the Legislature, receives from Virginia a circular letter promoting the idea of establishing committees of correspondence in the colonies. The Assembly will adopt the idea, whose aim is to share information in a timely fashion about acts of Parliament. In response to the committee’s formation, Royal Gov. John Wentworth will adjourn the Assembly for seven months.

 

May 28, 2000: New Hampshire wildlife biologists are considering importing up to 150 Karner blue butterflies from New York, the Monitor reports. Concord’s unique population of the butterflies is close to extinction, and the biologists hope an infusion of new blood will help the species survive.

 

May 29, 1944: Fourteen of the 46 conscientious objectors working as attendants at the state hospital in Concord go on a cafeteria strike, refusing to eat. The men, who are labeled “Conchies,” are protesting a rule forbidding them to mingle with regular attendants at the hospital.

 

May 29, 1944: One patriotic full-page ad lists all the Concord young people serving in the armed forces. Another, for the Foy Tire Co., gives the number: 2,875.

 

May 29, 2001: Electropac, a Manchester manufacturing company, buys the vacant Vishay Sprague property in Concord for $2.75 million. The new owner envisions hiring up to 30 people while leasing part of the building to other manufacturing companies.

 

May 29, 2002: In Penacook, nearly 70 local Catholics air their grievances with the church and demand accountability of both its leaders and abusive priests last night as Bishop John McCormack sits in the back taking notes. It is the first time McCormack attends a discussion organized by parishioners and not clergy.

Author: Insider Staff

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