May 25, 2002: Nearly 400 students graduate from New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, marking the college’s first year as an accredited school in its 35-year history.
May 25, 1983: Return of the Jedi debuts in Concord and 700 people turn out to watch. “My kids have been talking about this for three months,” says Lynn Ring of Northwood. “Is there any other movie?”
May 25, 1854: Believing it will quiet the debate on slavery once and for all, President Franklin Pierce signs the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Instead the act will split Pierce’s Democratic Party and bring on a wave of violence that leads directly to the Civil War.
May 26, 2001: Authorities identify the remains of a girl found in Hooksett. The body is that of Kelly Hancock, 14, of Malden, Mass. She has been missing for almost a year, and her death is ruled a homicide.
May 26, 1944: After several destructive incidents, the police join school officials in urging young people not to play with handmade grenades. The grenades are filled with carriage bolts and use match-heads for the explosive charge. Children have been reported making and throwing them throughout the city.
May 26, 1987: New Hampshire, along with the rest of New England, watches the Boston Celtics try for another title on what will ever be remembered as “the night Bird stole the ball.” With three seconds left in an NBA semifinal game, Larry Bird steals an inbounds pass and whips the ball to teammate Dennis Johnson, who is streaking toward the basket. Johnson lays it in at the buzzer for a one-point victory over the Detroit Pistons.
May 27, 2001: Families from all over New England descend on Wilmot’s Eagle Pond Lodge Conference Center for the sixth annual Half Moon Sober Festival, an event dedicated to the proposition that you don’t need alcohol to have fun. It’s an event, one police officer says, that makes crowd control easy: Even with attendance approaching 4,000 people, no arrests are necessary.
May 27, 1774: With Massachusetts now under military authority, Royal Gov. John Wentworth asks New Hampshire’s elected Assembly to call up a sizable force to man Fort William and Mary, near Portsmouth. The Assembly refuses.
May 27, 1727: New Hampshire’s legislature grants a charter to a township that includes most of present-day Concord and Bow and part of Pembroke. Because Massachusetts had drawn different boundaries for a similar area, the charter led to much confusion over jurisdiction and – more important – tax collection.
May 28, 2003: The overall well-being of New Hampshire’s children continues to improve in many respects, according to the New Hampshire Children’s Alliance’s 2003 “Kids Count” survey. But the good news masks an unpleasant reality. The outlook for kids growing up in the state’s poorest communities is far dimmer than it is for those who live in the wealthiest ones. And the gap between rich and poor families is growing, the study finds.
May 28, 2000: New Hampshire wildlife biologists are considering importing up to 150 Karner blue butterflies from New York, the Monitor reports. Concord’s unique population of the butterflies is close to extinction, and the biologists hope an infusion of new blood will help the species survive.
May 29, 2003: The New Hampshire House approves legislation requiring girls younger than 18 to tell their parents before they can have an abortion. The vote, 197-176, virtually guarantees that the state’s first abortion restriction will be enacted since Roe v. Wade became law 30 years ago.
May 29, 1975: Gov. Mel Thomson signs a bill assuring the New Hampshire Presidential Primary is always first. The law says the vote is to be held March 2 “or on the Tuesday a week before any primary in any other state.”
May 30, 2001: The state veterans cemetery in Boscawen dedicates a new section for veterans whose bodies are lost, unrecoverable, unidentified or otherwise unavailable for burial.
May 30, 1923: For last time, 88-year-old General Joab Patterson rides at the head of the Memorial Day parade in Concord. In 1861, Patterson, a teacher, recruited 72 soldiers from around his native Contoocook and entered the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a second lieutenant. He rose to lead the regiment as a colonel, fought in 24 battles and was breveted a major general near war’s end. He lived most of his postwar years in Concord and led the Memorial Day procession each year.
May 30, 1868: In Concord, school lets out early and businesses close for two hours so that all may observe the first Memorial Day.
May 31, 2001: Starting July 1, the Monitor reports, Chichester will once again have a ZIP code of its own. “It’s a matter of pride,” says John West, a lifelong resident. “We want to be ourselves and use our own name.”
May 31, 1873: The city council appropriates $12,000 to build a new bridge over the Contoocook River in Penacook.