This week in Concord history

May 13, 1726: A group of Massachusetts colonists with a royal land grant arrive to settle Penny Cook. They find Judge Sewall, the first white settler, living on his 500-acre tract on the east side of the Merrimack.

May 13, 1774: The New Hampshire Gazette of Portsmouth reports that the king has closed the port of Boston.

May 13, 1974: Gov. Mel Thomson advises all secretaries in his office to cease use of the title “Ms.” in official state correspondence.

May 14, 2003: Thanks to resumed negotiations and public support, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic’s nurse midwives will continue to deliver babies at the hospital across the street, the Monitor reports. The clinic announces that Constance Curtin, Cynthia de Steuben, Rebecca Hunter and Angela Nelson have rescinded their resignations, which were given because of what de Steuben call “philosophical differences.”

 

May 14, 2001: About 60 state lawmakers take part in a “firearms orientation day” in Dunbarton, part of a lobbying effort by Gun Owners of New Hampshire. Afterward Concord Rep. Candace Bouchard says she enjoyed the target shooting but didn’t change her mind about the need for gun control laws.

 

May 14, 1864: On the march with the 2nd New Hampshire Cavalry in Louisiana, Lt. George S. Cobbs of Exeter is captured by a rebel force during a skirmish. When his men attack in an effort to rescue him, a Confederate officer shoots Cobbs in the head. His men later bury him on the banks of the Red River under a wooden cross and Masonic emblem.

 

May 14, 1846: The New Hampshire Patriot advises Concord that the United States has declared war on Mexico. New Hampshire will enlist a battalion of 389 men, including Concord’s Fire Engine Co. No. 2 and three Patriot printers.

 

May 14, 1993: A mother and her children narrowly avoid death when a fast-moving fire rips through their Royal Gardens apartment. Fire investigators will later report that half the fire alarms at the complex don’t work.

 

May 14, 1839: Birth of David Arthur Brown, leader of the Fisherville Cornet Band in Penacook and of Brown’s Band, which will become one of the finest musical acts in the state. The band will play at the unveiling of the Hannah Dustin monument in Penacook.

 

May 15, 1726: At Sugar Ball in East Concord, Enoch Coffin, a Congregationalist minister, preaches at the first Christian service in the future Concord. His congregation is a group of men who have come from Massachusetts Bay Colony to survey the Plantation of Penny Cook.

 

May 15, 1727: A Congregational church, Concord’s first, is ready for occupancy. It is a 40-by-25-foot log structure at North Main and Chapel streets.

 

May 15, 1908: Unable to keep up with the Concord City Auditorium for live shows, Manager Ben White of White’s Opera House begins showing continuous motion pictures and illustrated songs every day but Sunday. Admission is a dime for adults a nickel for children. The songs are by Fred Rushlow. This venture will prove an immense success.

 

May 15, 1983: Auditions for an amateur production of Annie draw 23 little girls to Concord’s Phenix Theatre. “You need not be afraid. None of us can sing so whatever you can do will be fine,” says producer Norman Leger.

 

May 15, 1944: A taxicab in Laconia strikes and kills a pedestrian. The man is 67-year-old James Smith, who happens to be the father of Lieutenant Commander J. Stuart Smith Jr., the first Laconian killed in action in World War II.

 

May 16, 2001: Republican Sen. Ted Gatsas makes a pitch to his colleagues to allow video slot machines at state liquor stores. A hearing on his proposed legislation draws many more opponents than supporters.

 

May 16, 1893: After a sensational trial in the killing of a young woman who jilted him, Frank C. Almy, also known as George Abbott, is executed at the state prison. He is the ninth man hanged in New Hampshire and the last before capital punishment is repealed. It will be resumed in 1916. The execution is botched, the rope slipping over Almy’s head as he falls. Over his protests, he is quickly hanged again – and efficiently. There are rumors afterward that Almy’s body has been stolen, but Warden George W. Colbath assures the public that he knows precisely where it is buried.

 

May 16, 1818: Birth of Nehemiah Sleeper Bean in Gilmanton. Bean will grow up to invent the Amoskeag steam fire engine, built in Manchester and sold around the world.

 

May 17, 2002: James Parker and Robert Tulloch, the teenagers who murdered two Dartmouth College professors, felt smarter than others, even like gods, and were training for a life above morality and the, perhaps as professional assassins, according to police interviews released today.

 

May 17, 1765: News of the Stamp Act reaches Portsmouth. The act is the first ever to impose levies on the colonies’ internal affairs, including taxes on newspapers, marriage licenses and playing cards. Protests begin immediately.

 

May 17, 1943: A bill is introduced in the New Hampshire House to dump all conscientious objectors “on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.”

 

May 17, 1983: Sculptor Dimitri Gerakaris oversees the installation of the steel arch at the entrance to Eagle Square. It is not an instant hit. “It looks like someone’s nightmare that hasn’t been completed,” says one passerby. “It’s art, Arthur,” says his wife.

 

May 17, 1851: For a second time, Concord voters refuse to turn their town into a city. The vote is 582 against and 139 in favor. Two years later, they will change their minds.

Author: Insider Staff

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