This week in Concord history

June 10, 1983: A celebration marks the opening of Eagle Square. Former mayor Martin Gross delivers a poem to mark the occasion. One stanza describes the Eagle Stable, which will soon be open in the Crystal Courtyard, a mini-mall for specialty foods:

Your stable’s stalls, once equine halls,

soon hungry souls will seek.

No hay or mash but gourmet stash –

an appetite boutique.



June 10, 1900: A Concord police officer arrests clerk Walter Davis at Fitch’s Drug Store for selling soda water on Sunday. The law allows for Sunday sales of only “bread, milk and the other necessities of life.” A judge will let Davis off, saying that soda is as necessary to life as milk and that citizens should be encouraged to drink anything other than alcoholic beverages.


June 10, 1813: New Hampshire Congressman Daniel Webster introduces a set of resolutions challenging the reasons the United States entered war with Great Britain the previous year. It is the beginning of a rapid rise to Federalist leadership for the freshman member of Congress.


June 11, 2001: People passing by the federal courthouse in Concord share their reactions to the early morning execution of Timothy McVeigh. Their overwhelming sentiment: Good riddance.


June 11, 1971: Attorney General Warren Rudman advises Gov. Walter Peterson not to worry about reports that a large group of hippies will flood northern New Hampshire and Vermont this summer. Peterson named a committee to investigate reports that land was being bought in northern New Hampshire for the use of a large number of youths who planned to move in and begin such things as organic farming.


June 11, 1776: Dr. Josiah Bartlett and William Whipple, representing New Hampshire in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, write to the colony’s president, Meshech Weare, that a committee has been appointed to draft a declaration of independence. “As this is a Subject of the greatest importance,” they write, “we beg we may be furnish’d with the Sentiments of our Constituents as we wish to Act agreeable to them let our own be what they may.”


June 11, 1875: The widow of John A. Winslow, captain of the USS Kearsarge of Civil War fame, climbs Mount Kearsarge to select a granite boulder to adorn her husband’s grave. The people of Warner help her move the stone to the railroad station for the trip to a Boston cemetery.


June 11, 1837: Samuel Coffin Eastman is born in Concord. A great-grandson of Ebenezer Eastman, Concord’s first settler, he will become a prominent lawyer, bank president, railroad man, speaker of the New Hampshire House and school board member. In 1915, when Concord celebrates the 150th anniversary of its royal charter as a parish, he will be recognized as the city’s most prominent citizen and “president of the day.”


June 12, 2001: About 40 educators, health care workers, environmentalists and others march from Allenstown to Concord to mark the 10th anniversary of the Claremont school funding lawsuit.


June 12, 1886: The Daniel Webster statue is dedicated in front of the State House.


June 12, 1905: J.N. Marston of Dublin is the first motorist in New Hampshire to receive a speeding ticket. Shortly after the first statutes governing motor vehicle conduct are enacted, Marston is collared for “driving his machine about the streets of Keene in a somewhat reckless manner.” He is caught after overtaking and overturning a horse-drawn buggy, injuring the two occupants. The police cite him for exceeding 8 mph.


June 12, 1892: Eva Brunel is born in Worcester, Mass. She will have a career as an athletic director, but her claim to fame will be as owner and operator of Chinook Kennels in the village of Wonalancet. She and her husband, Milton John Seeley, will buy the kennels in 1930, and she will run them for many years after his death in 1943. The kennels will train northern sledge dogs for Rear Admiral Richard Byrd’s first and second Antarctic expeditions and for cold-weather military service during World War II. At the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, Eva Seeley will be the only female sledge-dog driver.


June 12, 1977: In Concord, William Loeb tells the Gun Owners of New Hampshire that the only way to combat “anti-gun nuts” is “to go directly to the great mass of American people and educate them on the obvious necessity of citizens owning and having guns.”


June 12, 1804: Alarmed by the frequency of escapes from local prisons, Gov. John Gilman makes the first substantive proposal for a state prison in Concord. It will be more than eight years before the prison opens on North State and Tremont streets.


June 12, 1842: Snow squalls are reported in Bristol.


June 12, 1800: The federal government buys its first naval yard, an island in the Piscataqua River off Portsmouth. It pays a private citizen, William Dennett Jr., $5,500 for the land. The bill of sale is filed in York County, Maine. The deed is filed in Rockingham County, N.H.


June 13, 1859: A huge fire on the southwest corner of Main and Pleasant streets in Concord consumes a bakery, several stores and the South Congregational Church. When it becomes certain that the fire will destroy the granite-and-wood Greek Revival church, the Rev. Henry Parker gives one final pull to the church bell rope, and the bell is heard above the crackle of flames.


June 13, 1920: James Cleveland is born. He will serve as Second District congressman from 1963 to 1981 after practicing law in Concord and New London and serving 12 years in the state Senate.


June 13, 1954: This is Freedom Day in New Hampshire, so declared by Gov. Hugh Gregg as a day of remembrance and prayer for those who have died resisting the Communist regime in Eastern Europe.


June 13, 1767: With pomp and circumstance, John Wentworth assumes the office of royal governor in Portsmouth. As such, he will lead an agrarian and mercantile colony of 98 towns totaling 52,000 people. The population of Concord, characterized by one historian as “an outpost of radical republicanism,” is 752.


June 13, 1775: Exactly eight years after assuming the royal governorship of New Hampshire, John Wentworth moves with his family into Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth Harbor, under the protection of a British warship. He has been relatively benevolent in his reaction to the growing revolt against British rule of the colonies, and he is not bitter about his fate. From the fort he will write a friend: “Truely I can say with the poet in his Lear ‘I am a man much more sinned against than sinning.’”


June 13, 1983: A 92-year-old covered truss bridge, fondly called Old Red by residents of Pembroke, collapses in a fierce storm. “It was bypassed by a modern bridge and wasn’t in use,” says Jim Garvin of the New Hampshire HistoricalSociety. “But it was of interest to a few local people. It’s been sitting there like kind of a relic.”



June 14, 1776: New Hampshire’s General Court adopts a resolution asserting “that our Delegates at the Continental Congress . . . are hereby Instructed to join with the other Colonies in Declaring the thirteen united colonies, a free & independent state.” Four days later, Meshech Weare, the colony’s president, will forward the resolution to Josiah Bartlett and William Whipple in Philadelphia.


June 14, 1831: Benjamin Brown French, a rising politico from Chester, goes to a party in Concord with future U.S. senator Charles G. Atherton and future president Franklin Pierce. His companions, both in their 20s, are ” ‘smashed’ by a pair of bright eyes, & a beautiful face,” but French “would as soon think of falling in love with an elegant piece of statuary.” He tells his diary: “Give me eyes that can pierce the very soul, & a countenance that bespeaks a mind within.”


June 14, 1944: Speaking on the causes of juvenile delinquency, Dr. Anna Philbrook, a psychiatrist at the State Hospital, says: “Children are growing up in homes where they have no facilities for play, where parents are so deeply concerned with earning enough money to buy the food needed by the family that they cannot spare the time to guide their children to healthful recreation.”


June 14, 1962: Astronaut Alan Shepard of Derry is in Concord for the unveiling of his portrait at the State House. After a week of speeches and banquets, he says, he is glad the picture shows him in a space suit so people will know that “at least once in a while I do work.”

Author: Insider Staff

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