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Keedysville District

Map of Washington County, 1877

All names on 1877-1879 Jury List

Washington County Court House in 1877

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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 language.

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 Atlas.

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.
Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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