The 1877 Jury List for Washington County
The 1877 Jury List for Washington County, Maryland, compiled by the Clerk to
the Office of the County Commissioners, was made up of the “male taxable or
residents” of the county “not over the age of sixty-five years, nor under the
age of twenty five years”. From this list, the Circuit Court judges selected
those of “intelligence, sobriety and integrity" to serve on juries.
The list therefore is a useful genealogical tool, adding to the information
about the inhabitants of Washington County in the 1870s. The 1870 Census
records a population in the county of 34,712. The Jury List includes 4826
persons 25 to 65 years old, who were taxable, i.e. they owned property. Unless
Washington County broke from Maryland State Law, all of the members of the Jury
List were also white. The Supplement to the Maryland Code, Containing the Acts
of the General Assembly, Passed at the Session of 1870 states:
"It shall be the duty of the clerk of the county commissioners for each of the
counties of this state… to make a fair and complete list of the white male
taxable inhabitants or residents of said county, whose names appear on the tax
books of said county, and who are not known to said clerk to be under the age
of twenty-five years”. The judge would select from these lists “a panel
to consist of the names of two hundred persons in the several counties of
Baltimore, Washington… to be fairly and impartially selected of the age
aforesaid by the said judges, with special reference to the intelligence,
sobriety and integrity of such persons, and without the least reference to
their political opinion.” (
Archives of Maryland Online). Only in the Maryland Code, Public General
Laws of 1888 was the word white removed from the jury selection
In 1877 the county comprised 19 districts. Not all districts in this list are
named the same as those included on the atlas of the same year, the 1877 Lake,
Griffing and Stevenson Illustrated Atlas of Washington County, Maryland.
The Jury List has a district named Antietam, which the Atlas calls East
Hagerstown. Pleasant Valley in the Jury List equates to Rohrersville in the
Washington County, 1877, Lake, Griffing & Stevenson
The list has some annotations, possibly of people being called for a jury or
excused from serving. It is unclear what the strikethroughs mean, whether the
person had moved or been found unsuitable for jury duty. Some names that were
marked were added back to the record. Given that this report was used over a
three year period, corrections made over the years were possible.
The notations F.c., M.c. and N.c probably refer to the terms of
the court, the February, May and November terms. There were only three terms in
these years. So F.c. 78 could mean the court session that began in
February 1878. In addition there are notions like Lunatic or Dead.
David Troup of Beaver Creek District was shown as being 81 yrs old – too
old to serve on a jury. At least three women are included on the list –
Catherine Hines of Pleasant Valley, Mary A. Iseminger of Funkstown and
Josephine Neikirk of Conococheague. Each of these names was struck through, so
presumably they did not act as jurors.
The Jury List is housed in the Western Maryland Room of the Washington County
Free Library. The text was transcribed by Rosamund Ball in 1996.