This week in Concord history

Dec. 28, 1863: Henry Plummer Brooks, a Pittsfield boy of 14 years 10 months, enlists in the Third Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. After fighting in two battles, he will die of illness in North Carolina. A history of the town’s Civil War soldiers will assert that although there were younger drummer boys during the war, Plummer was the youngest by 10 months of any soldier who carried a rifle. Thus the town will claim both the youngest and oldest enlistees in the Union army. The same history book says that the oldest, at 66, was Israel Drew.

Dec. 28, 1835: William Chandler is born in Concord. He will go on to become a U.S. senator and secretary of the Navy. He will found the Rumford Press and revitalize a struggling Monitor.

Dec. 28, 1862: Private Miles Peabody of Antrim writes to his parents from Falmouth, Va., that after the Battle of Fredericksburg, his infantry regiment, the 5th New Hampshire Volunteers, can muster fewer than 100 men for duty. “We can afford to be disbanded for we have achieved a name that no one in New Hampshire need be ashamed of,” he writes. This suggestion will prove to be wishful thinking. The regiment, which left Concord 14 months earlier with more than 1,000 men, will fight at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before being sent home to recruit.

Dec. 29, 2002: After nearly 103 years of countless weddings, baptisms, confirmations and funerals, the sounds of Mass echo through St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Franklin for the last time. The church closes because of dwindling numbers of parishioners and the financial burden of serving a small community.

Dec. 29, 2001: A three-alarm fire guts the former Allied Tannery complex in Boscawen. Firefighters from 14 towns work most of the day before they extinguish the blaze.

Dec. 29, 1933: The low temperature in Concord is 21 below zero. That’s what it was yesterday. And that’s what it will be again tomorrow.

Dec. 30, 1999: First Night organizers vow to carry on with most of their plans despite a bomb threat. However, the annual fireworks display is canceled, as is a planned countdown to the new millennium. Organizers are advised by the police that security would be difficult at such a large Main Street gathering.

Dec. 30, 1894: The first meeting is held at Christian Science’s lovely stone Mother Church in Boston. The religion’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, a native of Bow, authorized the building of the Mother Church two years before.

Dec. 30, 1993:The state Supreme Court rules that the state has a constitutional obligation to provide adequate public education to all children. Gov. Steve Merrill says that because the state is meeting this obligation, the ruling represents no challenge to the state’s tax system.

Dec. 30, 1926: Allen and Amoret Hollis deed Concord the land for “a playground and athletic facility for the citizens of the City of Concord.” They also donate a plaque for what will be known as Memorial Field, in honor of the city’s dead from the late World War. Among those who died during the war were the Hollises’ son, Allen Jr., and nephew, Henry Hollis Jr.

Dec. 31, 2002: The Environmental Protection Agency formally issues major changes to clean air rules for utilities, refineries and manufacturers, easing certain requirements of the Clean Air Act’s “New Source Review.” The action prompts a court challenge hours later from a coalition if New England and mid-Atlantic states, including New Hampshire.

Dec. 31, 1866: Fire burns the roof and destroys machinery at the Penacook Mill. Though it is so cold that the firemen’s clothing freezes, a horse-drawn steam fire engine speeds at 30 mph from Concord and saves much of the mill building. The mill’s 250 employees are thus out of work only briefly.

Dec. 31, 1975: The New York Times reports that Kevin Cash, who wrote and published Who the Hell Is William Loeb? has sold 30,000 copies of the book and has 50,000 more in print. The book is a big success in bookstores and corner groceries across the state.

Dec. 31, 1869: A group of young men from Concord gathers to greet the New Year. “One raised his glass and pledged upon his honor as a man, that not a single drop of intoxicating liquor should pass his lips in 1870.” Impressed, another poured the party’s whiskey down the drain. The Monitor approved, reporting: “These men have made a good beginning for 1870.”

Dec. 31, 1847: Of the measure banning slavery in all territories gained through the war with Mexico, New Hampshire Whigs proclaim: “The Wilmot Proviso has no more steadfast friend than the Whigs. . . . Come weal or woe, they will abide by ‘the white man’s resolution.’ ”

Dec. 31, 1979: The body of a third skater who fell through thin ice in Squam Lake is recovered, hours after frantic efforts to revive two other skaters failed.

Jan. 1, 1819: The Phenix Hotel, built by Abel Hutchins, opens on Main Street in Concord as “a house of entertainment.”

Jan. 1, 1865: Lewis Downing Sr. retires from Abbot & Downing, his coach and wagon company.

Jan. 2, 1784: The Legislature grants Concord official townhood.

Jan. 2, 1942: The state encourages women to go to work in factories to replace men who have joined the armed forces. Walter M. May, deputy state education commissioner, says he will throw the state’s 13 defense schools open to women at once so that they can learn mechanical skills. To now, women have tried in vain to gain admittance to such classes.

Jan. 2, 1960: U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy announces he will run for president. Because he is from neighboring Massachusetts, his chief rivals for the Democratic nomination – Hubert Humphrey and Stuart Symington – concede New Hampshire’s 11 convention votes to him. Neither plans to enter the state’s March 8 primary.

Jan. 3, 1981: Republican Warren Rudman of New Hampshire takes the oath of office as a U.S. senator.

Author: Insider Staff

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