This week in Concord history

May 13, 2003: In a bold move, the Senate Judiciary Committee strips the parental notification provision from the House parental notification bill and instead passes an amended bill that outlines the required counseling a minor must receive before she can have an abortion.


May 13, 2000: Although mourning the death of Adam Petty the day before, drivers and race officials at New Hampshire International Speedway make clear the show must go on. “This is racing, this is what we do for a living,” says Mike Helton, NASCAR’s senior vice president. “Every now and then something like this happens, and we hope it’s a long time before it happens again.”


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, 1774: The New Hampshire Gazette of Portsmouth reports that the king has closed the port of Boston.


May 13, 1977: The Seabrook 1,414 are released 14 days after their protest. Under an arrangement with prosecutors, they plead guilty and are sentenced to two weeks in jail and fined $100.


May 13, 1974: Gov. Mel Thomson advises all secretaries in his office to cease use of the title “Ms.” in official state correspondence.


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, 2003: Thanks to resumed negotiations and public support, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic’s nurse midwives will continue to deliver babies at the hospital across the street, the Monitor reports. The clinic announces that Constance Curtin, Cynthia de Steuben, Rebecca Hunter and Angela Nelson have rescinded their resignations, which were given because of what de Steuben call “philosophical differences.”


May 14, 2002: At a dedication ceremony for the grand opening of the New Hampshire Fire Academy in Concord, firefighters demonstrate theirs skills on a simulated jet crash.


May 14, 1864: On the march with the 2nd New Hampshire Cavalry in Louisiana, Lt. George S. Cobbs of Exeter is captured by a rebel force during a skirmish. When his men attack in an effort to rescue him, a Confederate officer shoots Cobbs in the head. His men later bury him on the banks of the Red River under a wooden cross and Masonic emblem.


May 14, 1846: The New Hampshire Patriot advises Concord that the United States has declared war on Mexico. New Hampshire will enlist a battalion of 389 men, including Concord’s Fire Engine Co. No. 2 and three Patriot printers.


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 14, 1839: Birth of David Arthur Brown, leader of the Fisherville Cornet Band in Penacook and of Brown’s Band, which will become one of the finest musical acts in the state. The band will play at the unveiling of the Hannah Dustin monument in Penacook.


May 15, 2003: Merrimack Valley High school is named the 2003 New Hampshire High School Representative of Excellence by the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards Program (the “ED”ies for short). Speaking at a school assembly principal Pam Burke says “This has got to be the most wonderful day in my professional career. You kids, year after year, are the reason we’re here. We’ve always been so proud of you. I’m just so glad the entire state knows who you are.”


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.


May 15, 1903: Philip Ayres, a forester traveling the White Mountains to document conditions, reports that fires are burning out of control, with flames encircling the town of Whitefield. In some places the smoke is so thick that buildings cannot be seen 50 yards away, and fine white ash falls from the sky like rain. Within three weeks, ash and smoke from the forest fires will be fouling laundry on clotheslines as far south as Manchester. By the time the fires burn themselves out, 310 square miles will be destroyed.


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, 1990: White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu makes the cover of Time magazine.


May 16, 2003: The 22nd annual Winni Derby gets underway. The three-day fishing competition on Lake Winnipesaukee draws 2,700 fishermen from as far away as Alaska.


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 16, 1818: Birth of Nehemiah Sleeper Bean in Gilmanton. Bean will grow up to invent the Amoskeag steam fire engine, built in Manchester and sold around the world.


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, 2002: James Parker and Robert Tulloch, the teenagers who murdered two Dartmouth College professors, felt smarter than others, even like gods, and were training for a life above morality and the, perhaps as professional assassins, according to police interviews released today.


May 17, 1765: News of the Stamp Act reaches Portsmouth. The act is the first ever to impose levies on the colonies’ internal affairs, including taxes on newspapers, marriage licenses and playing cards. Protests begin immediately.


May 17, 1943: A bill is introduced in the New Hampshire House to dump all conscientious objectors “on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.”

May 17, 1983: Sculptor Dimitri Gerakaris oversees the installation of the steel arch at the entrance to Eagle Square. It is not an instant hit. “It looks like someone’s nightmare that hasn’t been completed,” says one passerby. “It’s art, Arthur,” corrects his wife.


May 17, 1851: For a second time, Concord voters refuse to turn their town into a city. The vote is 582 against and 139 in favor. Two years later, they will change their minds.


May 18, 2003: Speaking at the graduation ceremony for New England College in Henniker, children’s author Tomie dePaola urges the 157 graduates to concentrate on finding peace, more than on achieving fame or even becoming better people. “So often we seek to hurt others because we ourselves have been hurt,” dePaola says. “If we find peace in ourselves and with ourselves, we’ll find peace with our brothers and friends, and before we know it, we’ve created a chain of peace.”


May 18, 2001: The Concord School District has been named one of the top 100 places in the country to get a quality music education, the Monitor reports. The survey was conducted by the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Yamaha Corp., the National School Boards Association, the Music Teachers National Association and the American Music Conference.


May 18, 1861: As Concord residents throng “on either side of the column with cheers and huzzas” on a Saturday afternoon, the First New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment parades through the streets. It will leave for the front in a week.


May 18, 1864: Nathaniel Hawthorne, famed author and friend and college classmate of Franklin Pierce, dies in room No. 9 of the Pemigewasset House in Plymouth.

Author: Insider Staff

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