This week in Concord history

May 27, 2003: Daniel Littlefield of Meredith goes to trial in Belknap County Superior Court on charges he killed a 69-year-old Bedford man, John Hartman, in a hit-and-run boat crash last summer on Lake Winnipesaukee.

May 27, 2001: Families from all over New England descend on Wilmot’s Eagle Pond Lodge Conference Center for the sixth annual Half Moon Sober Festival, an event dedicated to the proposition that you don’t need alcohol to have fun. It’s an event, one police officer says, that makes crowd control easy: Even with attendance approaching 4,000 people, no arrests are necessary.

May 27, 1987: Evangelist Pat Robertson, campaigning in Concord for the GOP presidential nomination, calls for “a national consensus on a core of moral absolutes.”

May 27, 1774: With Massachusetts now under military authority, Royal Gov. John Wentworth asks New Hampshire’s elected Assembly to call up a sizable force to man Fort William and Mary, near Portsmouth. The Assembly refuses.

 

May 27, 1727: A charter is granted to the town of Canterbury. Richard Blanchard will arrive six years later and become the first white settler, living southwest of today’s town center. By 1742, about 30 families will live in the town.

 

May 27, 1861: After enlisting 71 men in Contoocookville, Joab N. Patterson takes them to Portsmouth, where most will join the Second New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry for three years’ service in the Civil War. Lt. Patterson, who recently graduated from Dartmouth at age 25, will fight in 24 engagements from First Bull Run to Appomattox Court House, rising to the rank of brevet brigadier general.

 

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 28, 2001: Eighty-four communities have asked for $12.8 million in grants from the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, the Monitor reports. Only $3 million worth of grants will be awarded.

 

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 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 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.

 

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, 1808: Daniel Webster and Grace Fletcher, the daughter of a deceased Congregationalist clergyman in Hopkinton, marry in Salisbury.

 

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, 1975: Gov. Mel Thomson signs a bill assuring the New Hampshire Presidential Primary is always first. The law says the vote is to be held March 2 “or on the Tuesday a week before any primary in any other state.”

 

May 30, 2001: The state veterans cemetery in Boscawen dedicates a new section for veterans whose bodies are lost, unrecoverable, unidentified or otherwise unavailable for burial.

 

May 30, 1923: For last time, 88-year-old General Joab Patterson rides at the head of the Memorial Day parade in Concord. In 1861, Patterson, a teacher, recruited 72 soldiers from around his native Contoocook and entered the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a second lieutenant. He rose to lead the regiment as a colonel, fought in 24 battles and was breveted a major general near war’s end. He lived most of his postwar years in Concord and led the Memorial Day procession each year.

 

May 30, 1868: In Concord, school lets out early and businesses close for two hours so that all may observe the first Memorial Day. Col. James E. Larkin of Concord, who fought at Fair Oaks, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, leads the veterans’ procession into Eagle Hall on Main Street. After the singing of “America,” the recitation of the Gettysburg Address and patriotic speeches, the throng marches solemnly to the cemeteries and lays wreaths at the graves of the city’s Civil War dead.

 

May 30, 1992: Concord’s Bob Tewksbury of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches a four-hitter to beat San Diego. Tewksbury is on his way to his best season ever. He will finish 16-5 with a 2.16 earned run average and be voted National League’s best control pitcher with 20 walks in a career-high 233 innings pitched.

 

May 30, 1874: A city council committee is appointed to purchase land on Warren Street between State and Green streets for a central fire station. The committee will buy the site for $7,747.52, and the station will operate there for a century.

 

May 31, 2001: Starting July 1, the Monitor reports, Chichester will once again have a ZIP code of its own. “It’s a matter of pride,” says John West, a lifelong resident. “We want to be ourselves and use our own name.”

 

May 31, 1911: Nahum Batchelder, an East Andover farmer and former New Hampshire governor, falls from power as master of the national Grange after it is disclosed that he has allowed the Grange’s good name to be used in underhanded lobbying campaigns in Washington. He will leave the organization, known as the “Patrons of Husbandry” and the chief voice of the nation’s farmers, after 34 years as a member and six as its national leader.

 

May 31, 1873: The city council appropriates $12,000 to build a new bridge over the Contoocook River in Penacook.

 

May 31, 1856: Edward H. Rollins, Concord politico, leads a mass meeting at Phenix Hall to condemn terrorism in Kansas and the caning of Sen. Charles Sumner on the floor of the U.S. Senate. It is among the first gatherings in the city of a new party, the Republicans.

 

May 31, 1649: The state’s first public school supported by taxation opens in Hampton. The sole qualification for students: that they be “capable of learning.”

 

May 31, 1932: The Schoonmaker Chair Co. goes out of business, ending contract labor at New Hampshire State Prison.

 

May 31, 1983: After much debate, legislators decide not to build the governor a special executive washroom at the State House. The vote is a victory for Rep. Eugene Daniell of Franklin, who says the state shouldn’t spend money on bathrooms if it can’t give its workers a pay raise.

Author: Insider Staff

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