This week in Concord History

Oct. 22, 1987: After passing through a small crowd bearing signs reading “Run, Don, Run,” and “New Hampshire Needs Trump,” real estate magnate Donald Trump tells the Portsmouth Rotary: “This country is in trouble. It needs strength, competence and intelligence.” But he adds: “I am not a candidate for president.”


Oct. 22, 1920: George W. Stivers and Marcus F. Bassett, dangerous escapees from Sing Sing Prison in New York, are captured in the Warner woods, ending a manhunt by a gun-toting posse of 200. The two men come from behind a stone to ask two hunters for directions to Bradford and soon learn that the hunters are part of the posse. The cons give up without a fight. “It’s pretty hard trying to sleep in orchards,” Bassett tells a reporter.


Oct. 22, 1844: The Millerites, one of many cults and sects that have gained popularity in New Hampshire in recent years, believe that the world will end on this date. It doesn’t.


Oct. 22, 1938: Martin Gross is born. He will become a popular Concord mayor (1976-82) and serve as legal counsel to Gov. Walter Peterson and as special counsel to Gov. Hugh Gallen.


Oct. 23, 1973: U.S. Reps. Louis Wyman and James Cleveland, New Hampshire Republicans, praise President Nixon’s release of the Watergate tapes. “Hastily initiated resolutions for impeachment should now be withdrawn,” Wyman says. Undaunted, Minnie Murray, wife of UNH professor Don Murray, has begun circulating a petition calling for Nixon’s impeachment. “He’s set himself up against any authority,” she says, “and this is not the way to run a democracy.”

Oct. 23, 1890: A statue of John Stark is dedicated outside the State House.


Oct. 24, 2003: Madame Chiang Kai-shek, a visitor to Wolfeboro and wife of the longtime ruler of China and Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek, dies at the age of 105. The first lady vacationed in Wolfeboro until the mid-1980s, but old-timers who remember her posh, 120-acre lakeside estate do not agree on how often she visited. “I’ve heard both sides,” says Harrison Moore, a 77-year-old local historian. “I’ve heard from so-called reliable people who live here year-round that she was here several times and spent some time in Wolfeboro. Other people say she was barely here at all.”


Oct. 24, 1788: Sarah J. Buell is born in Newport. Widowed at a young age, Sarah Josepha Hale will turn to letters, writing the novel Northwood and becoming editor of the Lady’s Book, a magazine published out of Philadelphia by Louis Godey. In 1830, she will write “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and in 1863, she will persuade Abraham Lincoln to declare the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving.


Oct. 24, 1805: The first Quaker meeting is held in Concord. It will be 10 years before a Quaker meeting house goes up on what is now the State House plaza.


Oct. 24, 1852: News of Daniel Webster’s death at Marshfield, Mass., reaches Concord at 2:38 p.m. Bells toll and flags are lowered to half-staff. At a memorial service the next day Gen. Franklin Pierce, just days before his election to the presidency, will be the principal speaker. Of Webster, Pierce will say: “The great heart of the nation throbs heavily at his grave.”


Oct. 25, 1843: Col. Richard M. Johnson, the noted Kentuckian who is reputed to have killed the Indian chief Tecumseh, visits Concord. Franklin Pierce and others greet him at the station, and Johnson rides down Main Street on a white horse. At the State House, he wears the same red vest he wore in the Battle of the Thames, during which he is said to have slain Tecumseh. Eleven shots pierced the vest. At a dinner presided over by Pierce, someone will raise doubts about Johnson’s famous act and ask him if it really happened. “In my opinion,” Johnson responds, “I did kill Tecumseh.”


Oct. 25, 1908: Young people fan out all over Concord to raise money for Mary Pillsbury Hospital. They pin red tags on donors to keep them from being asked to give again. By day’s end, the children have raised $2,300.


Oct. 25, 1852: Following the lead of a Boston group, 50 young men of various Christian denominations meet in Concord to consider forming a local Young Men’s Christian Association. A committee appointed from this group will lead to the organization’s local founding.


Oct. 25, 1963: In Manchester for the annual New Hampshire Education Association convention, 4,000 teachers overwhelmingly approve a resolution asking the Legislature to enact a $4,500 minimum salary for teachers.


Oct. 25, 1976: Impressed with the new convention center in Augusta, Maine, New Hampshire Gov. Mel Thomson proposes the state construct a civic center in Manchester. The state would pay 75 percent of the cost; the city 25 percent, he proposes. (It never happens.)

Oct. 25, 1986: A few days after Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle writes, “Stick a fork in ‘em. The Mets are done,” all New Hampshire stays up late on a Saturday night to watch game six of the World Series. The Sox come within one pitch of winning their first world title since 1918, but the Mets pull it out, 6-5 in 10 innings, on Mookie Wilson’s ground ball through Bill Buckner’s legs. The Mets go on to win game seven.


Oct. 26, 2000: As the clock strikes midnight, 33 lucky shoppers are allowed to buy the new Sony PlayStation II at Wal-Mart in Concord. Some have waited in line as long as 28 hours!


Oct 26, 1988: State officials break ground for the $1.8 million Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord.


Oct. 26, 1975: Several months after ordering state troopers to intervene in a strike at a Troy textile plant, Gov. Mel Thomson addresses a convention of the state chapter of the AFL-CIO and asks for support. “He always says he’s firmly for labor, but what he really feels deep inside is something else,” says union president Thomas Pitarys.


Oct. 26, 1948: William Gardner of Manchester is born. Gardner will become New Hampshire’s secretary of state in 1976 and hold the office for more than two decades. A Democrat, he regularly has the support of Republicans in the Legislature, who re-elect him every two years.


Oct, 26, 1989: U.S. Rep. Bob Smith coaxes a protesting Vietnam War veteran out of a homemade bamboo cage in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where he had fasted for 35 days. The man is unhappy with the government’s attempts to find Vietnam POWs and MIAs. Smith promises to introduce legislation requiring federal reports of alleged POW/MIA sightings to be made public.


Oct. 27, 1908: A throng fills Concord’s Phenix Hall with hundreds standing as the state’s two U.S. senators campaign for the November election. “What a whirlwind (Sen. Joseph) Gallinger is for incessant work, work, work,” Charles Corning, the city’s mayor and the emcee for the night, writes in his diary.


Oct. 27, 1986: Sherman Adams, former governor, former chief of staff to President Eisenhower, dies.


Oct. 27, 1951: State Sen. Winnifred Julia Wild marries state Sen. George Wesley Tarlson – right in the Senate chamber.


Oct. 27, 1659: Two Quakers, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, are hanged in New Hampshire for “returning to the province after banishment.”

Oct. 28, 2003: About 700 people attend the unveiling of the new and improved Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. The theater sports a three-story glass atrium, a new paint job and a refurbished conference room.


Oct. 28, 1906: The New York World reports that Mary Baker Eddy of Concord is mentally and physically unfit to lead the 800,000-member Christian Science church, which she founded. Eddy is 85 years old. “Mrs. Eddy looked more dead than alive,” wrote two reporters who had never seen her. “She was a skeleton, her hollow cheeks thick with red paint.” Mayor Charles Corning visits Eddy after hearing this account and finds her “keen of intellect and strong in memory.”

Author: Insider Staff

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