This week in history for Jan. 4, 2023

Jan. 4, 2003: A federal judge has denied Gary Sampson’s plea to escape the death penalty, the Monitor reports. Sampson is accused of killing Robert “Eli” Whitney of Penacook along with two Massachusetts’s men. He will be found guilty in Massachusetts and sentenced to death, the first time the state has issued such a sentence since 1973.

Jan. 4, 1859: The Coos Republican of Lancaster prints a list of all town residents who had died the year before – and the cause of death. The tally: 11 from consumption, 3 from apoplexy, four from typhoid fever, 3 from lung fever, 1 from scarlet fever, two from inflammation of the bowels, 2 from congestion of the lungs, 1 from cancer, 1 from paralysis and one from old age. Of those 29 deaths, more than half were under 30 years old.

Jan. 4, 2001: Elizabeth McLaughlin, a 101-year-old resident of Concord’s Havenwood-Heritage Heights Retirement Community, gets some extra attention for a day after being invited to the governor’s inaugural address at the State House. “It (was) a day I never expected,” McLaughlin says later. “I’m not an important girl at all.”

Jan. 4, 1943: The state announces that the number of New Hampshire traffic fatalities for 1942 was down significantly – 42 as opposed to 102 in 1941. The state attributes the drop mainly to wartime gasoline rationing.

Jan. 4, 1946: The Nashua Telegraph announces that the Brooklyn Dodgers will bring a minor league baseball team to Nashua. Unknown to residents is Dodger President Branch Rickey’s plan to bring African American players to New Hampshire as part of his campaign to break major league baseball’s color line.

Jan. 5, 2003: One person is killed and three more are hurt when a possible gas explosion causes an elevated tennis court to collapse in Grantham.

Jan. 5, 2002: The Concord police found firsthand evidence of methamphetamine’s creeping presence last month in an attic crawlspace on Northeast Village Street, the Monitor reports. There, in the Heights home, officers found a pH tester and chemical bottles. Methamphetamine, also known at “crank” and “speed,” has long been a top concern for law enforcement officials in the West and Midwest. But only recently has the narcotic turned up in New England, law enforcement officials said.

Jan. 5, 1996: The early-morning low temperature in Concord is a brisk 18 below zero.

Jan. 5, 1776: In the first of five Provincial Congresses in New Hampshire, delegates adopt a temporary constitution. The document makes New Hampshire an independent colony six months before the colonies jointly declare their independence. Recalling the objectionable actions of recently departed Royal Gov. John Wentworth, the framers make no provision for a governor. Meschech Weare becomes New Hampshire’s president. The permanent state constitution will not take effect until June 1784.

Jan. 5, 1943: In his Monitor editorial, Editor James M. Langley calculates that “we” have completed 20 years of editorial writing, averaging 2,250 words a day 300 days a year. The editorial is headlined: “13,500,000 FUTILE WORDS.”

Jan. 5, 1864: ­This is the deadline for New Hampshire to send 3,768 troops to the field, including 132 from Concord. The state and city have met their quotas without a draft. Veterans re-enlisting to answer this call received $502 in bounties, new recruits $402. Concord has paid out $64,100 in bonuses and received $52,400 in reimbursements from the state.

Jan. 6, 2003: Several Penacook residents ask the city to save their beloved, but most likely doomed, Rolfe barn: They ask the city to seize it through eminent domain. The request is made in a petition filed just minutes before city hall closes. After months of battles between history buffs and property developers, the Penacook Historical Society will own the barn.


Jan. 7, 1942: Concord starts a three-day spell of bitterly cold weather with a low temperature of 15 below zero. The next day it’ll be 25 below, and the day after that, the temperature will fall to 22 below.

Jan. 7, 1904; At its annual meeting, the First Church of Christ Science thanks Mary Baker Eddy of Concord for her gift of $120,000 toward the Concord church, now under construction.

Jan. 7, 1942: A tannery is proposed for the large Penacook factory once used by New Hampshire Spinning Mills. Nearby residents plan to protest.

Jan. 7, 1735: Abigail Danforth is the first white child born in what will later be the town of Boscawen.

Jan. 8, 2001: No tax being considered as a way to pay for public education would inherently harm the state’s economy or mar its social fabric, the governor’s tax commission reports. The panel suggests a combination of taxes is desirable but demurs on the question of which taxes.

Author: Insider Staff

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