This week in history

June 18, 2003: House and Senate leaders strike a deal on a compromise state budget that restores most of the cuts to Health and Human Services that Gov. Craig Benson and the House proposed earlier this year. “We have presented a people’s budget,” Senate President Tom Eaton says. “And we did it without raising taxes.”


June 18, 2000: Organizers say the 77th edition of Bike Week brought some 340,000 people to the Laconia area. The police say they recorded about 170 arrests, significantly fewer than in either of the previous two years.


June 18, 1812: Congress declares war on Great Britain. Siding with the Federalist opposition, New Hampshireman Daniel Webster calls the declaration of war “premature and inexpedient” and accuses the Republicans of having entered an alliance against England with the “papists, the infidels (and the) atheists” of France.


June 18, 1853: A group of Concord citizens meets and raises money for a street sprinkler to keep the dust down on Main Street.


June 18, 1861: Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, a 29-year-old native of Randolph, N.H., sends a telegram to earth from his balloon 1,000 feet up. Watching this experiment in Washington, D.C., is President Abraham Lincoln. Lowe will become an aeronaut, performing reconnaissance duties for the Union army.


June 18, 1965: Lawmakers consider legislation to allow grocery and drug stores to sell light wines. They estimate an extra $700,000 in state revenue. (The legislation will eventually pass.)


June 19, 2002: After 66 years, Washington Street School in Penacook closes. In the fall, students will attend Penacook Elementary School, a brand-new facility one mile away.


June 19, 2001: The best place in the state to hunt for a moose is in the Pittsburg area, the Monitor reports. According to Fish and Game officials, moose hunters in that area enjoy a success rate of better than 90 percent. The statewide average is 71 percent.


June 19, 2000: Residents of Hull, Quebec, pedal through downtown Concord on a 33-passenger bicycle, part of a trek the Canadian town has organized to celebrate its bicentennial.


June 19, 1807: Parliamentary maneuvering in the Legislature results in Concord being named the capital, ending several years of roving state government.


June 19, 1856: One hundred booms of the cannon in Concord celebrate the nomination of John Charles Fremont, the first Republican candidate for president. The cheer goes up: “Free Soil, Free Men and Fremont.”


June 19, 1973: Gov. Mel Thomson vetoes legislation that would prevent a governor from delving into confidential tax records.


June 19, 1843: In his journal, Benjamin Brown French, a New Hampshireman who has gone to Washington as a political appointee, marvels over “the astonishing rapidity with which information is now spread over this land.” At noon two days before, Sen. Daniel Webster spoke at the dedication of the Bunker Hill Memorial. After reading the text of Webster’s speech in the Capitol less than 40 hours later, Brown writes: “What’s the use of speculating about balloons, when information can pass from one end of the Union to the other at the rate of 20 miles an hour!”


June 19, 1864: In the waters off Cherbourg, France, the Portsmouth-built USS Kearsarge sinks the notorious marauder CSS Alabama in one of the Civil War’s most celebrated naval duels. The Alabama’s captain, the pirate Raphael Semmes, escapes to England, but his days of terrorizing federal ships are done.


June 20, 2003: In Laconia, jurors convict Daniel Littlefield of Meredith of the lesser of two negligent homicide charges, finding that he failed to keep a proper lookout when he killed John Hartman with his powerboat last August. But they clear him of the more serious charge of driving while impaired by alcohol.


June 20, 1997: A man is killed and several injured in a baseball-bat brawl at a Canterbury sand pit.


June 20, 1841: More than 1,000 people gather at the Old North Church to hear a lecture by John. H.W. Hawkins, a self-proclaimed “reformed inebriate” who is now a silver-tongued missionary for temperance.


June 20, 1806: Two and a half years after the state ordered the towns to survey their land and borders, the Legislature assigns Philip Carrigain and Phinehas Merrill to double-check the surveying work. Carrigain will eventually be hired to combine the town surveys into a map of New Hampshire.


June 21, 2001: One of two men accused of fatally beating a 91-year-old Penacook woman confesses in court as part of a deal for a reduced prison sentence. In nine months, prosecutors will ask the court to dissolve the plea deal, saying they now want to try the man who confessed and accept a lesser plea from the second man, who had been headed for trial.


June 21, 1861: In New Jersey, Lt. Charles W. Walker of the Goodwin Rifles, a revered company of the Second New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment, falls from a lurching platform car of the train carrying the regiment to Washington. His injuries prove fatal. His body will be brought back to Concord for burial.


June 21, 1788: At a meeting house near the present-day Walker School, delegates from around the state vote 57-47 in favor of the new U.S. Constitution. This makes New Hampshire the ninth and deciding state to ratify. Hopkinton’s delegate votes in favor; Concord’s delegate, the burly Capt. Ben Emery, votes no, as do representatives of Warner, Salisbury and Loudon.


June 21, 1788: After delegates vote to ratify the Constitution, John Langdon of Portsmouth writes to George Washington: “I have the great pleasure of informing your Excellency that this State has this day adopted the Federal Constitution, 57 yeas 46 nays – thereby placing the Key Stone in the great arch.” Langdon helped draft the Constitution, then returned to the state to lobby for approval. New Hampshire is the ninth state to ratify, meaning the Constitution will take effect.


June 21, 1909: The White Parks beat the Old Timers 14-0 in the first game of Concord’s Sunset League. The four-team after-supper baseball league will have games daily except Saturday at 6:15 p.m. The teams play till dark or for five innings, whichever comes first. Crowds of 400-500 gather to watch.


June 21, 1946: Steve Merrill is born. He will serve two terms as governor after a stint as attorney general under Gov. John Sununu.

June 21, 1990 – With Steve McAuliffe and a large crowd of dignitaries and ordinary citizens in attendance, the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium is dedicated in Concord.


June 22, 1825: The Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution, visits Concord during his government-sponsored tour of all 24 states. Driven down Main Street in a four-wheel carriage, he is greeted by a crowd of 30,000 to 40,000. At the State House, 200 to 300 Revolutionary War veterans gather to shake his hand. Many weep. Nine years later, Concord’s Fayette Street will be named in memory of this day. An elm planted on the State House lawn to commemorate the event will flourish until 1956, when the state pays $300 to get rid of it. Gov. Lane Dwinell will salvage a few engraved gavels from the Lafayette elm. Other residents will use slabs from the trunk for coffee tables.


June 22, 1843: Col. Franklin Pierce, the future president, delivers a temperance lecture at Concord’s old North Church. Pierce is part of a committee whose aim is to “most certainly and speedily cause the use and traffic in intoxicating drinks to cease in town, except for mechanical and medical purposes.”


June 23, 1785: A committee is appointed to lay out Main Street in Concord. A final report won’t be drafted until 1798.


June 23, 1815: A freight boat journeys from Boston to Concord for the first time.

Author: Insider Staff

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