This week in Concord history

Feb. 18, 1942: Gov. Robert O. Blood urges coal and fuel oil conservation to aid the war effort. Homes should be heated to no higher than 65 degrees, he says.


Feb. 18, 1842: The radical and conservative factions of the Democratic Party brawl in Concord’s town hall over control of a party caucus. An observer, Henry McFarland, writes that “seats and desks were smashed, wigs flew in the dusty air, and bloody noses were seen on most respectable faces. There was a great uproar and a clatter of flying feet, combatants chasing their foes as far down as Centre Street.”


Feb. 18, 1996: In Concord to promote his book, Bill Bradley says he wants two things from a second Clinton term: more use of public power on behalf of the middle class and more effort to heal racial tensions.


Feb. 18, 1869: Fire destroys Concord’s Columbian Hotel.


Feb. 19, 2001: Two Vermont teenagers accused of killing two Dartmouth professors are arrested at dawn at a truck stop in Indiana. A local sheriff makes the collar after hearing a trucker say on his CB radio that he’s giving a ride to two boys trying to get to California.


Feb. 19, 1965: Television personality Jack Paar films a show in Gilmanton. He tells school board member Mrs. Harold Bryant he wanted to do a show about “a small, friendly New England Town.” Paar and his seven-man crew eat dinner at Bryant’s home.


Feb. 19, 1986: Bob Smith and a group of congressmen return from Southeast Asia convinced that Americans are living in Vietnam but decline to discuss evidence. “I went over with a gut feeling and I came back with an absolute feeling they’re there. The question now is how to bring them back,” Smith says.


Feb. 20, 2001: World-renowned environmentalist and Dartmouth College professor Donella Meadows dies at age 59 of bacterial meningitis. A regular contributor to New Hampshire newspapers, Meadows first made her mark in 1972 with the publication of The Limits to Growth, considered a seminal work in the field of environmental analysis.


Feb. 20, 1994: On the way to spring training, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Tewksbury of Concord, winner of 33 games the last two seasons, stops in New York for salary arbitration. He loses. His salary for 1994 will be $3.5 million.


Feb. 20, 1772: Philip Carrigain is born in Concord. His father is a local physician. Philip will graduate from Dartmouth, practice law in Concord and become New Hampshire’s secretary of state. Chosen in part for his distinguished handwriting, in 1816 he will produce the first map of the state to show town boundaries.


Feb. 20, 1942: All New Hampshire people with excess sugar are asked to return it to their grocers, who are expected to pay them the full retail price for it.


Feb. 20, 1864: The Battle of Olustee, Fla., costs the 7th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment 209 casualties. Col. Joseph A. Abbott blames his regiment’s retreat and defeat on an order before the battle that the left wing of his regiment give up its Spencer repeating carbines to arm a mounted regiment. In return, the men were issued inferior Springfield rifles, 42 of which had been pronounced “unserviceable.”


Feb. 20, 1973: New Hampshire officials approve the state’s first “instant sweepstakes,” in which players will buy a 50-cent lottery ticket, remove a seal and know instantly if they have won. The game is aimed at tourists. Top prize will be $100.


Feb. 21, 2001: A plaque honoring New Hampshire veterans of the Spanish Civil War will not be displayed at the State House, a legislative panel unanimously decides. The decision follows heated testimony from lawmakers and other residents who contend that the plaque effectively honors Communists. “I’d say put it in the river,” quips Sen. Jack Barnes, “but the fish might die.”


Feb. 21, 1848: While walking through the U.S. Capitol, New Hampshireman Benjamin Brown French, the former House clerk, peers into the speaker’s offices and sees Rep. John Quincy Adams lying “perfectly unconscious.” The former president has had a stroke. “I shall probably never look upon him again in life,” French writes. Adams will die two days later.


Feb. 22, 1997: The temperature in Concord hits 67 degrees, making this the warmest February day of the 20th century.


Feb. 22, 1912: The reorganized Abbot & Downing Co. has orders for 45 express wagons in addition to passenger wagons for Yellowstone Park. This assures work for 50 men. “We have made a start,” says Samuel Eastman, the Concord businessman who purchased the failing company 5½ months ago.


Feb. 22, 1800: Concord joins other communities across the nation in a day of mourning and prayer for George Washington, dead two months.


Feb. 22, 1944: Lt. Sanderson Sloane, a summer resident of Rindge, is killed in action with his B-17 crew over Germany. In his memory, his parents will establish the Cathedral of the Pines, a non-denominational place of worship in Rindge.


Feb. 23, 2003: For more than 100 years, a large plume of black smoke has hung above the chugging locomotives of the Cog Railway on Mount Washington, the Monitor reports. That’s all about to change, however, as the railroad’s owners switch from coal to cleaner-burning heating oil to power the railroad’s seven locomotives up and down the 6,300-foot mountain, said the railroad’s owner, Wayne Presby.


Feb. 23, 2002: At the Winter Games of Salt Lake City, Franconia’s Bode Miller slaloms to a 25th place finish for his final race of the Olympics.


Feb. 23, 1799: Seven men hold the first Masonic meeting in Concord at Gale’s Anchor Tavern.


Feb. 23, 1965: Religious and educational leaders protest legislation to bar certain speakers from state property as “legislative mischief.” The bill would prohibit any representative of an organization defined by state law as “subversive.” It has the support of Gov. John King, who has proposed a ban on representatives of the Communist Party and the American Nazi Party.


Feb. 23, 1945: On the fifth day after the landing on Iwo Jima, the Marines take Mount Suribachi. Private Rene A. Gagnon of Hooksett, New Hampshire, is one of five Marines (along with a Navy corpsman) who raise the American flag on the mountain. The picture will become one of the most famous war photographs ever taken.


Feb. 23, 1847: A meeting is held in Concord to organize a relief effort to aid victims of the Irish famine. The following donations are collected: $1,293.02 and 100 bushels of grain from residents of Concord; $5.25 and 168 bushels of grain from Pembroke; and $5.62 from Gilmanton.


Feb. 24, 1853: Concord’s “Old John” Virgin, a veteran of the War of 1812, is found frozen in his house on Sugar Ball. Virgin boasted all his life of having fought at Tippecanoe with William Henry Harrison. He had no friends because he would have none; he lived alone and died alone. Only the sexton attended his funeral.

Author: Insider Staff

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