This week in Concord History

Sept. 24, 1816:  A few months after the Legislature confirms Concord as the state capital, the cornerstone of the State House is laid. To now, New Hampshire is the only state in the union without a capital.


Sept. 25, 2001: After almost a year since they last piled into the Belknap County Superior Court, more than a dozen lawyers for the country’s leading cigarette companies are back in Laconia, arguing pretrial issues in the multimillion dollar lawsuits brought by four New Hampshire families.


Sept. 26, 1845: The New Hampshire Courier of Concord tells readers it’s willing to take payment in forms other than cash: Those of our subscribers who are in arrears to us for the Courier and wish to pay in wood are reminded that cold weather is at hand and a few cords would be very acceptable about this time.”


Sept. 26, 1906: Whitney Barrett, a police officer, chases down 30-year-old Julia Chadwick and, despite her pleas for help, manages to shoot and kill her in a trolley in Penacook. He then turns the gun on himself. Though married with two children, Barrett had been infatuated with Chadwick.


Sept. 26, 1804: The Rev. Enos George is installed as pastor of the First Congregational Church in Barnstead. He eventually will become the town’s teacher, town clerk for 40 years and chaplain to the Legislature. A town history includes this curious description: “In summer he was often seen having on a long calico gown tied in a knot behind.”


Sept. 27, 2003: Episcopal dioceses in Pennsylvania and Texas accuse the national church of exceeding its authority and violating its own constitution by confirming its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. Gene Robinson of Weare, and approving the blessing of same-sex unions. “These acts are to be held null and void, and of no effect, in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh,” reads a resolution approved 239-69 by the delegates in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.


Sept. 27, 1985: The state braces for Hurricane Gloria, a huge storm on the path of the Hurricane of ‘38. Schools let out at noon. Most businesses close. Trailer parks are evacuated. Gov. John H. Sununu declares a state of emergency. The only thing missing is Gloria.


Sept. 27, 1967:  Disclosing a closely held secret, Gov. John King tells the Executive Council that the new $1.2 million state Supreme Court will be built on a bluff overlooking the Merrimack River on Concord Heights. Once the building is completed, the court will move there from its present quarters.


Sept. 27, 1967: New England College bestows honorary degrees on Dudley W. Orr, a prominent Concord lawyer, and writer and humorist Ogden Nash.


Sept. 27, 1839: Diarist Benjamin Brown French of Chester visits Amoskeag Falls in Manchester. He sees “about a hundred buildings” in various stages of construction “all situated as unpleasantly as possible, in the midst of a sand bank. This is the germ of a city, and years hence Amoskeag . . . will be one of the largest Manufacturing towns in New England.”


Sept. 28, 1987: Developer Barry Stem agrees to hold off on his plan to build homes and golf course on Broken Ground while the city council studies ways to preserve open space. Six years later, Stem’s land will be auctioned off, his giant plan dead.


Sept. 28, 1818: Two years after their engagement, Samuel F.B. Morse and Lucretia Walker are married in Concord. In need of income, he has laid aside his itinerant painting career and embraced mechanics, inventing an improved fire engine which the town purchases for $200. Alas, the marriage is ill-starred. Lucretia Walker Morse will die in 1825.


Sept. 29, 1835: After a tedious trip from his home in Chester behind “the laziest horses I ever saw,” Benjamin Brown French tours the iron works at Gilmanton. “I have been looking about at the factories,” he writes, and “have seen them cast plough irons at the furnace.” The works, opened in 1780, use bog iron to produce nails, horseshoes and tools. They will operate until after World War II.


Sept. 29, 1864: Col. Samuel A. Duncan, a New Hampshirite, is badly wounded in the ankle while leading his African American infantry regiment in an attack in Virginia. “A few more such gallant charges, and to command colored troops will be the post of honor in the American armies,” General Benjamin Butler will write in his report on the battle.


Sept. 30, 1864: Private Robert H. Potter, a Concord farmer before the war, is shot through the left lung during the Battle of Poplar Springs, Va. Because the surgeon says it is “a question of only a few moments with him,” Potter is carried to the dead house. The next day, a chaplain will find Potter lying in a pool of water, still breathing faintly. Potter will recover, return to the 6th New Hampshire regiment and, after his company takes a battery at Petersburg, be promoted to captain.


Sept. 30, 1768: In opposing the Townshend Act, imposed by London to raise revenue for defense of the colonies, “Americanus” suggests in the New Hampshire Gazette that the tax might be thwarted by “a general abstinence from the use of TEAS.”


Sept. 30, 1829: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ellen Tucker marry in Concord. The festivities last three days. The couple moves to Boston, where Emerson has just been ordained as assistant minister at the Second Church in the North End.

Author: Insider Staff

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