This week in Concord history

Oct. 15, 1851: Philip C. Hunt is caught in a belt and carried around the shafting of a Penacook mill, mangling one leg and one arm badly, from which he never fully recovers. He lives until 1858.


Oct. 15, 1926: William Batchelder is born. Batchelder will serve on the state Supreme Court, then come out of retirement to help rule on the historic Claremont education lawsuit.


Oct. 15, 1814: Daniel Webster returns to Washington to resume representing New Hampshire in the U.S. House. Congress convenes in the U.S. Patent Office, the only federal building the British Army did not burn in a raid on Aug. 24.


Oct. 16, 1940: All men in the state between the ages of 21 and 36 are counted for the draft. By the end of World War II in 1945, 36,000 men will have been drafted, and 22,500 more will have enlisted.


Oct. 17, 2001: Dixville Notch resident Neil Tillotson dies at the age of 102. He invented the latex balloon, chased Pancho Villa with Pershing’s Cavalry, and cast the first vote in U.S. presidential elections for more than four decades.


Oct. 17, 1908: Robert Abial “Red” Rolfe is born in Penacook. He will play baseball with the New York Yankees from 1934 to ‘42 and be hailed by many as the team’s best third baseman ever. His career will bridge those of Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. He will bat .293 lifetime and play in six World Series. After retiring as an active player, he will coach aseball and basketball at Yale, coach professionally in both sports, manage the Detroit Tigers and serve as athletic director at Dartmouth College.


Oct. 17, 1988: A developer announces plans for a shopping center on the edge of Concord’s South End Marsh, an environmentally sensitive area. The project will not be built; other unsuccessful attempts to develop the area will follow.


Oct. 17, 1939: David Souter is born in Melrose, Mass. He will attend Concord High and Harvard and eventually rise to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Oct. 17, 1973: Concord officials meet to discuss ways to improve conditions on Concord Heights, after a $25,000 consultant points out: “There’s no village center, no coherence, no meeting place. There’s no there when you get there.”


Oct. 17, 1983: Gov. John Sununu denies that a new policy requiring state officials to get his approval before releasing state revenue and spending data constitutes a gag order. Rather, he says, it is an attempt to stem the flow of misleading and incomplete information to the public.


Oct. 18, 2003: The Rev. Gene Robinson responds to the international turmoil accompanying his pending consecration, saying he will become New Hampshire’s Episcopal bishop not for his own gain but to answer God’s call …. “I feel God is calling me to move forward, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t be holding up as well as I am if God weren’t very close to me right now,” says Robinson, whose homosexuality is threatening to divide the Anglican church.


Oct. 18, 1963: Trailing Barry Goldwater by a 2-1 margin in a Wall Street Journal poll of New Hampshire voters, New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller comes to Concord with his wife Happy to say he intends to run a vigorous primary campaign.


Oct. 18, 1988: Attorney Ray D’Amante announces the name of Concord’s soon-to-be-built mall: Steeplegate. Concord, he says, is a city of steeples and they will be incorporated into the mall as a prominent design feature.


Oct. 18, 1965: Gov. John King urges state lawmakers to approve tearing down a 70-year-old tower atop the state library at the corner of Park and North State streets. He calls it “an architectural monstrosity.”


Oct. 18, 1983: Gov. John Sununu says he would hire more women to important jobs in state government if more qualified women applied. “Maybe it is a problem of finding conservative women to leave the private sector. But we have had difficulty.”


Oct. 19, 2003: A Manchester widow is going after big tobacco, the Monitor reports. Julien Longden smoked for 32 years died of lung cancer at the age of 49. Now his widow, Sheila Longden, is asking a Hillsborough County jury to make the Philip Morris tobacco company pay for the pain suffered by her husband and his death. The trial is the first of its kind in New Hampshire.


Oct. 20, 1814: The first boat of the Merrimack Boating Co., later the Boston & Concord Boating Co., arrives in Concord. Northbound commercial cargo will include sugar, molasses, rum and finished goods. The boats will carry lumber, firewood, potash (for soap) and granite south to Quincy Market.


Oct. 20, 2000: James Hall, convicted of second-degree murder for killing his mother, receives a prison sentence of 30 years to life. In April 1999 he strangled Joan Hall, 77, in the Concord apartment they had shared for about a year.


Oct. 20, 1989: The 57-year-old Johnny Cash fills a theatre in Concord for two performances. His humble demeanor and his repertory, heavy on gospel, trains, fisticuffs, simple justice and simple pieties, bring down the house.


Oct. 20, 1991: James Colbert, 39, is talked out of jumping off the Tobin Bridge in Chelsea. He tells the police he has killed his family in Concord. The Concord police find the bodies of his estranged wife and three children dead in their house on Merrimack Street.


Oct. 20, 1975: Gov. Mel Thomson travels to Dallas to deliver a speech critical of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. “If Kissinger, the lying and deceptive secretary, is allowed to continue his egomaniac role of concessions to our enemy and harassment of our allies, it is doubtful that America will survive to complete the celebration of its bicentennial birthday.” His beef: Kissinger’s dealings with China.


Oct. 20, 1957: A thousand people attend the ceremony dedicating Concord’s new Rundlett Junior High School in the South End. After a tour, most express satisfaction with the $1.4 million school.


Oct. 20, 1908: Forest fires all around Concord fill the streets with smoke. Farmers’ wells are running dry. The temperature rises to 85 degrees.

Author: Insider Staff

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