Dec. 24, 2000: Several former Union Leader correspondents announce they’re starting up a free weekly competitor. HippoPress Manchester, scheduled to hit the streets in the new year, will focus on younger readers with a mix of reporting on restaurants, night clubs and the arts.
Dec. 24, 1999: Wolfeboro Falls Postmaster Laura Cronin reports that her annual work as Santa’s secretary is going well. The job entails showing the letters to Santa and then sending them back to parents in case they like to keep scrapbooks. A few days later, she also mails all of Santa’s replies.
Dec. 24, 1900: The Monitor reports on this year’s building boom. The new structures include the Optima Building and two other business blocks on Main Street, a new library and Dewey School.
Dec. 24, 1828: The town of Franklin is incorporated. It includes land formerly part of Salisbury, Andover, Sanbornton and Northfield.
Dec. 24, 1935: After more than a decade of strikes and other labor problems at its mills in Manchester, the Amoskeag Corp. files for bankruptcy.
Dec. 24, 1851: At 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve, federal official Benjamin Brown French of Chester runs the two blocks from his house to help fight a fire at the U.S. Capitol. He joins the bucket brigade and is the first to realize the fire has reached the Library of Congress, where it destroys 25,000 books.
Dec. 25, 1820: Episcopalians hold Concord’s first Christmas celebration 93 years after the town was settled. Because Concord was settled by Massachusetts Congregationalists, the holiday was previously banned.
Dec. 25, 1776: Gen. George Washington informs Col. John Stark of New Hampshire that Stark will lead one of the elements in a surprise attack on British forces at Trenton, N.J.
Dec. 25, 1827: In Concord to preach, Ralph Waldo Emerson meets Ellen Tucker and falls in love with her. She will become his wife. Tucker is 16 years old, lives with her mother and stepfather and wants to be a poet.
Dec. 26, 2002: The first snowflakes that lined door wreaths and lights Christmas morning were just a harbinger of what was to come, the Monitor reports. By the early afternoon, snow fell in sheets, with up to 20 inches predicted accumulation across the state.
Dec. 26, 1774: Royal Gov. John Wentworth issues a proclamation of rebellion calling for the imprisonment of dissidents against royal decrees and asking colonists to identify those involved in recent uprisings. The proclamation will be ignored.
Dec. 26, 1856: A fire reduces Concord’s Phenix Hotel to ashes. It will rise again on the same spot.
Dec. 26, 1987: A Monitor poll of city councilors gives Liz Hager the edge in a three-way vote for mayor of Concord. She will eventually defeat Jim MacKay – with the help of candidate Bob Washburn – becoming the city’s first female mayor.
Dec. 26, 1776: Col. John Stark’s troops lead the attack on the British and Hessians at Trenton. Capt. Joshua Abbot’s Concord company and Ebenezer Frye’s Pembroke company march with Stark. Frye, “being very corpulent,” tires quickly and tells his men to move ahead “as fast as they please” under Sgt. Ephraim Stevens. The battle lasts 50 minutes. The Patriot victory is a turning point of the Revolution.
Dec. 26, 1900: The police foil a murder for hire in Concord. The hit man turns in the woman who offered him $10, her rings and a pair of opera glasses to kill her estranged husband. The woman, 26-year-old Carrie Sinclair Huntoon, is a Concord belle who can trace her ancestry to the Pilgrims. She will be found insane and committed to the asylum.
Dec. 27, 1975: The New York Times reports that more than half the cells at the New Hampshire state prison in Concord are damaged beyond use by inmates angered over the refusal of officials to release a dozen prisoners from solitary confinement for their Christmas meal. Three people are injured in the four-hour disturbance and about 100 inmates are transferred to new locations.
Dec. 27, 2001: When it opened in 1967, Havenwood-Heritage Heights was one of the first modern retirement communities in the state. But times have continued to change, and now the center is planning a $40 million expansion so it can change along with them, the Monitor reports.
Dec. 27, 2000: Hundreds of firefighters from around the country gather at a Manchester wake to pay their respects to David Anderson, 43, the first city firefighter to die on the job in more than 30 years. He died trying to save two boys in a house fire. Some 2,000 firefighters will attend his funeral the next day.
Dec. 27, 1985: At the Ramada Inn on Main Street in Concord, Christa McAuliffe gives her last press conference before setting out for Florida and final preparations for the launch of the Challenger.
Dec. 27, 1925: Charles D. Parker, the last survivor of the short-lived Indian Stream Republic, dies. As a small boy, Parker took part in the establishment by his father of the new republic, in what is now the town of Pittsburg. The republic’s founding was the result of a land dispute between the United States and Canada.
Dec. 28, 1814: By one vote, the U.S. House postpones a bill calling for a draft of 80,430 troops to fight the British. U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, a leading draft opponent, has warned that if the bill passes, he will urge his constituents in New Hampshire “to exercise their unquestionable right of providing for the security of their own liberties.” Because the Treaty of Ghent has just been signed, ending the war, the draft bill is dead. Eight days later, Andrew Jackson will defeat the British at New Orleans.
Dec. 28, 1863: Henry Plummer Brooks, a Pittsfield boy of 14 years 10 months, enlists in the Third Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. After fighting in two battles, he will die of illness in North Carolina. A history of the town’s Civil War soldiers will assert that although there were younger drummer boys during the war, Plummer was the youngest by 10 months of any soldier who carried a rifle. Thus the town will claim both the youngest and oldest enlistees in the Union army. The same history book says that the oldest, at 66, was Israel Drew.
Dec. 28, 1835: William Chandler is born in Concord. He will go on to become a U.S. senator and secretary of the Navy. He will found the Rumford Press and revitalize a struggling Monitor.
Dec. 28, 1862: Private Miles Peabody of Antrim writes to his parents from Falmouth, Va., that after the Battle of Fredericksburg, his infantry regiment, the 5th New Hampshire Volunteers, can muster fewer than 100 men for duty. “We can afford to be disbanded for we have achieved a name that no one in New Hampshire need be ashamed of,” he writes. This suggestion will prove to be wishful thinking. The regiment, which left Concord 14 months earlier with more than 1,000 men, will fight at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before being sent home to recruit.
Dec. 29, 1933: The low temperature in Concord is 21 below zero. That’s what it was yesterday. And that’s what it will be again tomorrow.
Dec. 29, 1905: The Monitor reports on the opening of the New England Telephone and Telegraph exchange, a two-story building at School and Green streets. On the upper floor are two pay phones staffed by attendants. Female operators at the switchboard, regularly asking, “Number, please,” make connections for callers. Beginning with 1,688 subscribers, the building will provide phone service for half a century.
Dec. 30, 1894: The first meeting is held at Christian Science’s lovely stone Mother Church in Boston. The religion’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, a native of Bow, authorized the building of the Mother Church two years before.
Dec. 30, 1993:The state Supreme Court rules that the state has a constitutional obligation to provide adequate public education to all children.