This week in Concord history

 April 29, 1948: The New Hampshire Christian Civic League, formerly known as the New Hampshire Anti-Saloon League, faces the prospect of disbanding after 50 years of fighting for prohibition. Donations have fallen off, and the organization cannot pay its bills. Nowadays, on the issue of reducing the number of people who drink alcoholic beverages, “even some of the church groups are easy-going,” laments league official Herbert Rainie.


April 30, 2003: After six months of haggling, the city reaches a tentative deal to buy the former Penacook tannery. The city plans to pay Dana Willis $143,000 for the condemned, contaminated tannery and 2.5 acres of land. The deal means the end of 15 years of uncertainty for Penacook residents.


April 30, 2001: Warren Doane coaches his final baseball game. Concord High’s coach since 1973, Doane has been diagnosed with cancer.


April 30, 1789: As president of the U.S. Senate, John Langdon of Portsmouth has the honor of informing George Washington that he has been elected the new nation’s first president.


April 30, 1697: In Penacook along the Merrimack River, Hannah Dustin and two other captives turn on the Indians who kidnapped them and killed Dustin’s newborn child in March. They catch all the Indians asleep, kill 10 of them and return home to Haverhill, Mass. For the 10 scalps they bring with them, they collect a bounty of 50 pounds.


May 1, 1891: By custom, Concord’s May Horn ushers in a day of celebrating the final escape from winter. The horn is peculiar to Concord. “The ‘oldest inhabitant’ cannot recall a first day of May in his boyhood when the din of the horn did not reverberate in some wee hour,” the Monitor reports.


May 1, 1903: After 48 years of Prohibition, New Hampshire begins issuing licenses for liquor sales.


May 1, 1974: Senate President David Nixon announces plans to challenge Gov. Mel Thomson in the GOP primary as Thomson seeks his second term. Nixon tells reporters he anticipates his candidacy will bring down “upon all members of our family a deluge of venom and distortion unequaled in New Hampshire political history.”



May 2, 2003: The state Supreme Court upholds the conviction of Joseph Whittey, meaning that the 42-year-old who strangled Yvonne Fine of Concord 22 years ago will spend the rest of his life in prison. Whittey had asked the Supreme Court for a new trial, arguing that the DNA technology used to convict him of first-degree murder had not been sufficiently tested. In addition, he said that the trial judge should have removed herself from the case because she had been a prosecutor in the attorney general’s office during the 19-year investigation.


May 2, 2002: The same day retired Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley is arrested in San Diego on three counts of raping a child, Bishop John McCormack acknowledges in a television interview that he mishandled cases of clergy sexual abuse while in Massachusetts and had even ignored a warning about Shanley.



May 3, 2003: The Old Man of the Mountain, New Hampshire’s iconic symbol, the stone deity who watched over the state’s residents and countless visitors, lost its 10,000-year battle with gravity sometime over the last two rain-soaked days, crumbling mysteriously to the ground in a stream of small stone pieces. A cavalcade of state officials and workers, Old Man of the Mountain devotees and tourists descend on Franconia Notch to see for themselves.


May 3, 2002: The Supreme Court said it would intervene in redrawing House voting districts if the governor and Legislature fail to enact a plan in two weeks, the Monitor reports. “This court will not permit upcoming elections to go forward with unconstitutional districts,” the court said.


May 3, 1975: An EPA official says Gov. Mel Thomson has threatened to sue if the EPA does not quickly and favorably complete its review of a nuclear plant proposed for Seabrook.


May 4, 2003: On a clear day that is sunny and perfect for hiking, hundreds gather at the foot of Cannon Mountain to remember; to mourn and to see with their own eyes that the Old Man of the Mountain is really gone. “It’s hard to believe people can have such an emotional attachment to a piece of rock,” says Dan Burbank, who came to the Notch from Moultonboro with his son, Chris. “But it almost brings tears to your eyes.”



May 4, 1943: The Concord police say they have solved hundreds of thefts with the arrest of 16 high school and junior high school boys. For the most part, the crimes involve objects taken from cars and houses. The boys range in age from 13 to 16.


May 4, 1985: Congressman Bob Smith introduces legislation to prevent the “invasion” of illegal aliens. “We seem to have become a helpless giant, unable or unwilling to protect our citizens. It is a national disgrace that Congress has not had the courage to pass legislation to control illegal immigration,” he says.



May 5, 2003: The Franklin City Council reverses itself and abruptly bars all charter schools from the city in a 5-3 vote, refusing to look at the proposed charter school a local group has spent more than a year developing.


May 5, 2002: Former congressman Louis Wyman, who lost to John Durkin in 1975 after the closest election in Senate history, dies at the age of 85 in West Palm Beach, Fla.



May 5, 1945: Maj. Gen. Edward H. Brooks, a Concord native, accepts the battlefield surrender of the German 19th Army. Brooks is commander of the Sixth Corps.


May 5, 1961: Naval Capt. Alan B. Shepard Jr. of Derry becomes the first American in space. Shepard rides a 6-by-9-foot capsule 116.5 miles up, reaching a speed of 5,160 miles per hour. The capsule drops into the  Atlantic Ocean 302 miles from Cape Canaveral, Fla., 15 minutes after launch. “Boy, what a ride,” the 37-year-old New Hampshireman says to the helicopter crewmen sent to collect him.


May 5, 1944: An epidemic of German measles in Concord has driven the absentee list at city schools above 100.


May 5, 1944: Three-year-old Barbara Peters, daughter of the pastor, falls out the rear window of the vestry in the Methodist Church in Tilton and winds up in the Winnipesaukee River. She nearly drowns, but railroad men see her in the river, and rescuers manage to pull her out and resuscitate her.

Author: Insider Staff

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