This week in Concord history

Sept. 23, 1972: Attorney General Warren Rudman testifies in favor of tougher laws for convicted felons including, in several specific categories of murder, the death penalty. Usually, he says, a life sentence means parole in 12½ years. “That’s appalling,” he says. “That’s just not right.”


Sept. 23, 1815: Barnstead is visited by “The greatest gale in the midst of rain and storm ever known there,” according to a town history. “Men and houses were injured, sheds were unroofed, fences blown down and in many places the tall pines were laid level to the earth.”



Sept. 24, 1957: In a referendum, Concord voters decide to abandon manager-council government for a strong elected mayor. The margin is so thin – nine votes – that opponents demand a recount. The margin will shrink to five votes – 2,979 to 2,974 – but the result stands. To a call for further investigation of the vote, Mayor Herbert Rainie responds: “The people of Concord have spoken and we must accept their decision.” Almost exactly 10 years later, the city will impeach the mayor and revert to manager-council government.


Sept. 24, 1816: A few months after the Legislature confirms Concord as the state capital, the cornerstone of the State House is laid. To now, New Hampshire is the only state in the union without a capitol.


Sept. 25, 1858: Colebrook Academy advertises for high school students for its winter term: “Instruction will be given in the Common and Higher English studies, the Latin, Greek , French, Spanish and Italian languages, natural sciences, mathematics, including surveying, and all the branches usually taught in schools of the kind.”


Sept. 25, 1783: The selectmen of New Chester (later called Hill) conduct a census. The tally: 353 white inhabitants; zero blacks; 26 houses; 28 barns and other buildings.


Sept. 25, 1955: Former New Hampshire governor Sherman Adams, now special assistant to President Eisenhower, learns that Ike has had a heart attack. Adams immediately flies home from Scotland, where he is winding up a visit to NATO bases. During Ike’s recuperation, Adams will run the White House.


Sept. 26, 2003: A heating oil truck overturns and slides down a hilly road near Ellacoya State Park in Gilford. After crashing into roadside trees, two cracks in the tank spill some 2,500 gallons of fuel into a brook that flows into Lake Winnipesaukee.


Sept. 26, 1845: The New Hampshire Courier of Concord tells readers it’s willing to take payment in forms other than cash: Those of our subscribers who are in arrears to us for the Courier and wish to pay in wood are reminded that cold weather is at hand and a few cords would be very acceptable about this time.”


Sept. 26, 1906: Whitney Barrett, a police officer, chases down 30-year-old Julia Chadwick and, despite her pleas for help, manages to shoot and kill her in a trolley in Penacook. He then turns the gun on himself. Though married with two children, Barrett had been infatuated with Chadwick.


Sept. 26, 1804: The Rev. Enos George is installed as pastor of the First Congregational Church in Barnstead. He eventually will become the town’s schoolteacher, town clerk for 40 years and chaplain to the Legislature. A town history includes this curious description: “In summer he was often seen having on a long calico gown tied in a knot behind.”


Sept. 26, 1972: GOP gubernatorial candidate Meldrim Thomson Jr. makes public a letter of support from President Nixon, who says he looks forward to working with Thomson on “programs which return power and money to the states.”


Sept. 26, 1978: Gov. Mel Thomson claims his Democratic opponent Hugh Gallen is violating the state’s record piracy law by using the song “Live Free or Die” in a campaign ad. The song was purchased by the Thomson campaign. The lyric:

Live free or die

Don’t let the freedom pass you by,

Stand up proud and strong,

And lead this country on.


Sept. 27, 1985: The state braces for Hurricane Gloria, a huge storm on the path of the Hurricane of ‘38. Schools let out at noon. Most businesses close. Trailer parks are evacuated. Gov. John H. Sununu declares a state of emergency. The only thing missing is Gloria. Monitor reporter David Olinger writes for the next day’s paper: “New Hampshire residents went home early from the emergency shelters, knowing they had braced for the storm of the century and sat through a rainstorm.”


Sept. 27, 1967: New England College bestows honorary degrees on Dudley W. Orr, a prominent Concord lawyer, and writer and humorist Ogden Nash.


Sept. 27, 1824: The Rev. Nathaniel Bouton is invited to become Concord’s Congregationalist minister. Three months later he will accept a calling from the church. Bouton will hold the position for four decades.

Author: Insider Staff

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