This week in Concord history

Oct. 28, 1906: The New York World reports that Mary Baker Eddy of Concord is mentally and physically unfit to lead the 800,000-member Christian Science church, which she founded. Eddy is 85 years old. “Mrs. Eddy looked more dead than alive,” wrote two reporters who had never seen her. “She was a skeleton, her hollow cheeks thick with red paint.” Mayor Charles Corning visits Eddy after hearing this account and finds her “keen of intellect and strong in memory. A surprising example of longevity, bright eyes, emphatic expression . . . alertness.”


Oct. 28, 1856: The Coos Republican of Lancaster publishes an urgent correction to a previous report: “We learn that Mr. Taylor who was shot a few weeks since and reported dead is still alive and will probably recover.”


Oct. 28, 1983: Gov. John Sununu debates California Sen. Alan Cranston over the safety of the Seabrook nuclear power plant, assuring his audience that an evacuation in case of an emergency is feasible. “We run an analogy of an evacuation experiment each summer evening,” Sununu says. “At 7:30 on the beach, that beach is crowded with all the people that are going to the beach. At 11 o’clock at night, the beach is empty. Taht same experiment is repeated day in and day out, at Hampton, at Rye and at all those facilities.

Oct. 29, 1795: Concord Bridge, the town’s first span across the Merrimack, opens with a party and parade. It is near the site of today’s Manchester Street bridge. A second toll bridge will be built to East Concord in 1796.

Oct. 29, 1792: The first issue of The Mirror is published in Concord. The cost: 5 shillings per year. The publishers requests 1 shilling cash and the rest in “country produce.”

Oct. 29, 1727: A sharp earthquake hits New Hampshire. Chimneys and houses shake. In Portsmouth, as in other settled areas, the earthquake is a factor in the early stirrings of a religious revival.


Oct. 29, 1963: A crowd of 600 to 1,000 – mostly college students and other young people – break through a police cordon at Concord Airport to greet Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. “I don’t know when I’ll be back up here again,” says Goldwater, “but it won’t be long.”


Oct. 29, 1976: Concord Police Chief David Walchak agrees to distribute “hot dots” to city kids on behalf of Gov. Mel Thomson. Earlier, Concord school superintendent Seth O’Shea said he would not distribute the reflective safety dot packages (which include a pamphlet on highway safety featuring a picture of Thomson) until after Election Day. Walchak says the dots are “in the finest tradition of public service by the law enforcement community.” City Manager John Henchey was not consulted. “I doubt I would have concurred,” he says.

Oct. 29, 1984: Republican Gov. John Sununu wins the endorsement of the Boston Globe in his run for reelection. The editorial says Sununu “has brought a new level of capability to the Republican Party in New Hampshire.”


Oct. 29, 1989: Meat Loaf, whose 10-year-old “Bat out of Hell” album has sold 17 million copies, plays one of the last big shows at the deteriorating Capitol Theatre on South Main Street. The crowd, not a full house, stands and sings the choruses with him.


Oct. 30, 1862: Twenty-five black sailors from the USS Minnesota arrive in Portsmouth. The ship has come north after being damaged in the Merrimack-Monitor duel at Hampton Roads, Va. The young ladies of Portsmouth step up to help the former slaves learn to read, and townspeople gather to hear their views on slavery and secession and to hear them sing gospel songs.


Oct. 30, 1865: Col. John D. Cooper of the Second New Hampshire Volunteers dies of disease in Baltimore. Cooper enlisted as a private in the Second’s Company B, also known as Goodwin’s Rifles, and survived the many battles of this regiment in the East, only to become mortally ill as the war neared its end.


Oct. 30, 1865: The day after President Andrew Johnson proclaimed Dec. 7 as Thanksgiving Day, New Hampshire Gov. Frederick Smyth announces that this state will celebrate the holiday on Nov. 30. Smyth will hold out for 10 days before switching the date to conform with Johnson’s proclamation.


Oct. 30, 2000: Representatives of Manchester Sand and Gravel present the Hooksett Planning Board with a proposal to build 800 homes and a championship golf course on 3,800 acres near the Allenstown line.


Oct. 30, 2001: The prospect of hundreds of mill workers losing their homes won’t stop gambling opponents from lobbying against a proposed casino in Berlin and the jobs it would create, the Monitor reports. And even the usual supporters of expanded gaming say building a casino in Berlin is a bad idea.

Oct. 30, 2002: As the race for U.S. Senate enters its final week, the two major candidates spend much of the day continuing to attack each other’s records. At debates in Manchester and Bedford, Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Rep. John E. Sununu range across a variety of issues, slinging accusations on nearly every topic.

Oct. 30, 2003: Sen. John Edwards picks up one of the most coveted endorsements in the New Hampshire primary, winning the support of state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro.


Oct. 31, 1789: George Washington, the new president, reaches Portsmouth by stagecoach. He will stay for four days. Thirteen men row him around the harbor in “a great red, white and blue barge, amid the acclamations of hundreds on shore.” Washington also visits the fishing grounds, where he takes a line but catches only a half-pound fish.

Oct. 31, 1783: New Hampshire’s constitution is written. It includes, among other provisions, a prohibition on Dartmouth faculty in the Legislature.


Oct. 31, 1975: The state Supreme Court unanimously upholds a ruling giving a gay student group the right to hold social activities at the University of New Hampshire.

Oct. 31, 1979: Running on the Constitution Party ticket, former governor Meldrim Thomson enters the race for president. Says Thomson’s old pal William Loeb: “I will be backing Ronald Reagan.”


Nov. 1, 1759: Pembroke is created as a self-governing parish. Gov. Benning Wentworth names it after his English friend and political ally, the Earl of Pembroke.

Nov. 1, 1791: A New Hampshire law against “profane cursing and swearing” takes effect. Fines: 8 shillings for first offense, 16 for second convictions, 24 for subsequent penalties. If the convict can’t pay: public whippings of not more than 10 lashes.


Nov. 1, 1819: A new animal law takes effect in Concord: “whereas the inhabitants of Concord and travelers with teams and loaded sleighs are frequently annoyed by cows and sheep running at large, therefore hereafter no cow or sheep shall be permitted to run at-large in the Main street . . . or within half a mile to the west of Main Street.”

Nov. 1, 1842: The New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane opens in Concord. One of the first patients: a man from Tuftonboro who prays and preaches on the subject of the Second Coming for 4 hours each morning and remains quiet the rest of the day.

Nov. 1, 1845: Thomas Potter of Concord falls 34 feet from a chestnut tree without fracturing a limb. Twenty-four years earlier, he fell the same distance from the same tree.

Nov. 1, 1984: In a debate against Democratic challenger Chris Spirou, Republican Gov. John Sununu falls back on a standard new Hampshire tactic: “Everybody in the state of New Hampshire knows that Chris Spirou is one of the great sales tax, income tax, broad-based taxes of all time,” he says. Sununu will win the election by nearly a 2-1 margin.

Nov. 2, 1920: Albert O. Brown is elected governor. He gets the largest number of votes in state history (93,273) because it is the first general election in which women voters participate.

Nov. 2, 1946: William Loeb purchases the Union Leader of Manchester.


Nov. 2, 1976: Gov. Mel Thomson easily wins a third term, beating Democrat Harry Spanos, 58-42 percent. Thomson promises to “maintain the rustic and rural character of the state, while we move forward improving the urban communities of New Hampshire.

Nov. 2, 1982: John H. Sununu is elected New Hampshire governor, defeating two-term incumbent Gov. Hugh Gallen.


Nov. 2, 2002: A recent Concord Monitor poll shows the race for U.S. Senate between Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican U.S. Rep. John E. Sununu is statistically dead even. In informal interviews with nearly two dozen voters in Pembroke and Concord, most people say their decision will come down to their assessment of Shaheen’s performance during her six years as governor, or else specific issues, such as taxes or abortion.

Nov. 2, 2003: At UNH’s Whittemore Center in Durham, over warnings of worldwide schism and last-minute protests, church leaders consecrate Gene Robinson New Hampshire’s next Episcopal bishop – and the church’s first openly gay one.

Author: Insider Staff

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