This week in Concord history

April 1, 2003: Gov. Craig Benson launches his Adopt-a-School program, a campaign promise that essentially builds on longtime state and local efforts to connect schools with businesses. The governor’s project will link businesses with schools around the state in an effort to strengthen communities, supplement curriculum and show students that they might one day use what they learn in school.


April 1, 2000: Concord’s Matt Bonner gets a taste of Final Four basketball as a freshman, scoring four points and grabbing two rebounds in 14 minutes of play. His team, the University of Florida, defeats North Carolina, 71-59, to advance to the championship game.


April 1, 1817: There is still “good passing on ice on the river with horses,” Benjamin Kimball, a Merrimack River ferryman, writes in his diary.


April 1, 1891: William M. Chase, a prominent Concord lawyer and longtime school board member and a trustee of Dartmouth College, is appointed an associate justice on the state Supreme Court.


April 1, 1878: Shortly after midnight, April Fools pranksters dig up the body of executed murderer Joseph Lapage. They take it to the State House yard and suspend it from a gibbet-shaped water pipe frame. Special Detective E.B. Craddock and Officer Foster cut it down and bring it to Foster’s stable behind the Phenix Hotel.


April 1, 1830: Meeting on Fast Day at Concord’s Old North Church, leading citizens resolve to form the city’s first temperance society.


April 1, 1861: Charles J. French is born. He will grow up to be mayor of Concord, serving from 1909 to 1915 and again in 1918-19. “He was a remarkably able vote-getter, winning over many strong men who wished to obtain the coveted position as chief executive of the city,” reports the Granite Monthly magazine. French was also an accomplished wrestler and umpire.


April 2, 2003: After nearly 14 months of searching, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire has found five potential bishops from around the country from which its members can choose, officials announce. The five finalists include the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who, if elected, would become the first openly gay man to head an Episcopal diocese in the United States. Despite considerable controversy, Robinson will be elected.


April 2, 2002: Four days after the repeated blows from his son’s guitar broke virtually every one of the major bones in Justice John Broderick’s face, surgeons from Elliot Hospital in Manchester tell reporters that Broderick could see clearly when he was admitted to the hospital an almost certainly won’t have problems with his vision.


April 2, 1994: Speaking in Representatives Hall to the New Hampshire Historical Society’s annual meeting, Donald Hall says of his poem “Kicking the Leaves,” whose subject is his moving to New Hampshire in 1975: “I didn’t know we were going to settle here, but the poem did.”


April 3, 1865: Edgar L. Carr of Pittsfield, an assistant surgeon with an infantry regiment, writes in his diary: “A day of rejoicing to the American people and especially to the brave army that have been in the trenches around Petersburg and Richmond. Our army took possession of both places this morning. . . .We went through the city of Petersburg; it is a fine place. No Union sentiment was exhibited, except among the colored portion.”


April 3, 1945: Word reaches Concord that Staff Sgt. F. Hamilton Kibbee was killed on Jan. 31 while a prisoner of war in Germany. His wife Mary, who lives on South Street, last heard from him Jan. 7. The Kibbees have two children, ages 4 and 21 months.


April 3, 1909: In perhaps the first full-page automobile ad in the Monitor, Concord dealer Fred Johnson describes in detail the new Buick “Model 17 Touring Car.” It has five seats, two in front, three in back, a steering wheel rather than a tiller, four cylinders and 30 horsepower. A cloth folding top for rainy days is optional. The price: $1,750. It is the first decade of the popularization of the automobile. In 1900, there were 50 cars registered in New Hampshire. By 1910, there will be 3,500.


April 3, 1865: Concord’s church bells ring and a cannon fires in response to news of the overwhelming defeat of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army at Petersburg, Va.


April 3, 1905: Douglas Everett is born. Everett will become a member of the 1932 U.S. Olympic hockey team, win a silver medal and be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. The Everett Arena in Concord will be named in his honor.

April 3, 1994 – Pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day, Concord’s Bob Tewksbury defeats the Cincinnati Reds. The highlight is Tewksbury’s two-run double over the head of Reds center fielder Roberto Kelly.



April 4, 1983: Concord City Clerk Marjorie Foote retires after 19 years on the job. “I knew just about everything that was going on with people in this city,” she recalls.


April 4, 1946: Brooklyn Dodger management announces that two African American baseball players, Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella, have been assigned to its Nashua farm team. The city’s population of 34,000 includes fewer than 50 African Americans. Frank Stawacz, sports editor of the Nashua Telegraph, writes: “These two boys will have to be glaring standouts, else they will find an atmosphere much to their dislike even in these parts where color makes little or no difference.”


April 4, 1974: Gov. Mel Thomson signs legislation reinstating the death penalty in New Hampshire. “I feel like John Hancock when he finished putting his signature on the Declaration of Independence,” he says. The new law calls for death by hanging.


April 5, 2000: The IRS admits it made a record-keeping mistake when it recorded Clarence Ruden of Canterbury as deceased. Ruden, 74 and very much alive, called the IRS two weeks ago to check on the $284 refund he is due, only to find the agency had other plans for him. An IRS official apologizes to Ruden in a letter. His reaction: “It’s been quite a couple of weeks.”


April 5, 1858: Shedrick Remick of Jefferson takes out an ad in the Coos Republican announcing his wife’s desertion: “This is to forbid all persons harboring or trusting Julia A. Remick (my wife), she having left my bed and board without just provocation, and I shall pay no debts of her contracting from and after this date.”


April 5, 1933: A month and a day after the inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress approves money for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Within 10 days, New Hampshire’s first CCC work site – Camp Wildwood at Woodsville – is identified.


April 5, 1816: In a rare self-appraisal, U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster of New Hampshire says his “antiquated notions” make it clear to him that he should have lived in “generations that have gone by.” His political career has stalled in the ruins of the Federalist Party. Four months later, Webster will move from Portsmouth to Boston and resume his rise on the national stage.


April 5, 1797: Jonas Chickering of New Ipswich is born. A prominent manufacturer, he will build 14,000 pianos in his day and strive to perfect an instrument that will remain in tune and fit for use regardless of the weather.


April 5, 1881: Fire badly damages the works of the Page Belting Co. The loss is estimated at $24,000.


April 6, 1775: Hillsborough County calls for the formation of a military regiment. The county instructs its towns to form companies and “make choice of such men as they shall think Best Qualified for teaching the military art.”


April 6, 1943: Awakened by a loud noise on a cold and windy night, Mr. and Mrs. Giles, who live in an apartment adjacent to their store in Canterbury Center, discover the worst fire in the town’s history. “We first knew something was wrong when a piano crashed through the second floor of Union Hall into our store,” they say. The fire destroys the Union Hall the 118-year-old Congregational Church and two farms.

Author: Insider Staff

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