This week in history

Aug. 13, 1852: The tallest flagpole in New Hampshire history is erected in the State House yard, put up to celebrate Franklin Pierce’s nomination by the Democrats to be president. It is 143 feet tall, higher than the State House dome. First flown is an emblem with pictures of Pierce and Sen. Rufus de Vane King of Alabama, his running mate.


Aug. 13, 1975: Edward Bennett, the state’s economic development director, sues Union Leader publisher William Loeb over an editorial in which Loeb accused Bennett of being “one of a group who associated with individuals who yearned to foment a Communist revolution.” The suit will be settled out of court more than three years later for an undisclosed amount.


Aug. 13, 1976: Gov. Mel Thomson predicts an oil refinery will eventually be built along the New Hampshire coast and a pulp mill will be built on the Connecticut River.


Aug. 13, 1898: A Spanish naval commander visits prisoners of the Spanish-American War at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Thirty-one prisoners will die during detention at the yard. In 1916, their bodies will be exhumed from the Navy Yard cemetery and loaded onto a Spanish warship for the journey to their homeland.


Aug. 14, 2003: 550 people attend a memorial service for Sarah and Philip Gehring at South Congregational Church in Concord.


Aug. 14, 2002: In a raucous debate, all three Republican candidates for governor promise to roll back gay rights, restrict access to abortion if given the chance and curtail the power of the judiciary to decide police matters. Gordon Humphrey, Craig Benson and Bruce Keough also pledge to pass legislation to replace the state Supreme Court’s new House redistricting plan.


Aug. 14, 1864: Justus Drake of Pittsfield, a cavalryman in a New Hampshire troop, dies of starvation at the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville. His grave there is No. 5,577. He was captured less than two months before.


Aug. 14, 1945: The victory bell rings at 7:11 p.m., signaling the defeat of Japan and the end of the war. Thousands of people rush into downtown Concord to celebrate peace. The police report that the throngs are well-behaved with the exception of a carload of Pittsfield boys who are caught setting off false fire alarms.


Aug. 14, 1852: Concord officials vote to build the Sewalls Falls bridge.



Aug. 14, 1864: One day before the deadline imposed by the Legislature, Concord Mayor Benjamin Gale and other citizens remove a house south of the State House to make way for the building of Capitol Street.



Aug. 15, 2000: Aurangzeb Khan of Pakistan, believed to be the tallest man alive, spends the night at the Hampton Inn in Bow. On tour with the Sterling and Reid Bros. Circus, Khan stands 8 feet tall and weighs 380 pounds.


Aug. 15, 1864: Steam whistles and cannon herald the opening of Capitol Street along the south side of the State House grounds. A month earlier, the Legislature voted that if the street was not constructed by this day, they would move the capital.


Aug. 16, 2002: After winning four games at the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series in Stamford, Conn., The Granite State Big Blue lose to Mobile, 6-2.


Aug. 16, 2001: Tilton town officials present plans to convert a debris-strewn riverside lot into a community park, complete with trails, a fishing dock and picnic areas, on the former site of the Tilton Tannery.


Aug. 16, 1978: Gov. Mel Thomson says he has “irrefutable proof” that communists were involved in the June 24 anti-nuclear power demonstration at the Seabrook construction site – and urges Congress to investigate.


Aug. 16, 1843: A severe gale accompanied by torrents of rain destroys a large elm tree in the State House yard. The tree is 20 inches in diameter at its base. The wind breaks it off 20 feet about the ground.


Aug. 16, 1982: The Concord City Council votes to maintain its ban on overnight parking. And it refuses to increase the number of exemptions allowed to individual residents. “I see it as creating a crime problem,” warns Councilor Kenneth Jordan.


Aug. 16, 1777: Gen. John Stark deploys his 1,500 men to receive Hessian and British forces marching on Bennington. If his troops are worthy, he tells them, they must “prove it or Molly Stark sleeps a widow tonight.” Fighting with muskets, bayonets, pikes and swords, Stark’s men kill 207 and capture 750. Thomas Jefferson will later say: “This raised America from the depths of despair to the summit of hope.”


Aug. 18, 1999: The Executive Council denies a pardon hearing request from a convicted murderer who says, after 23 years in prison, he is a changed and repentant man. Gary Farrow, 43, is serving a life sentence for the 1976 murder of 19-year-old Michael Stitt of Laconia, whose body was found lying behind a state liquor store in Concord.


Aug. 18, 1976: The federal government declares hog cholera under control and lifts a quarantine imposed on swine shipments from Cheshire, Hillsborough and Rockingham counties.


Aug. 19, 1863: With the Union armies in need of more soldiers, Concord takes part in the draft. Of 924 names placed in a turning wheel, the city’s quota of 277 is drawn. The city will pay each man a bonus of $300.

Author: Insider Staff

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