Old Lyndeborough jury box discovered

LYNDEBOROUGH – The town’s historical society has received a piece of forgotten town history – the little hardwood box once used to securely hold the names of residents drawn to serve on Superior Court juries.

Lyndeborough Town Secretary Cindy Hasty said she found the box in the front entrance lobby at Citizens’ Hall “sitting on top of a file cabinet.”

She did not know how it got there, but once she realized what it was, she passed it on to members of the society for safe keeping.

“It doesn’t look important,” she said, “but I think it is.”

The box measures about nine inches by five inches by three inches deep. The cover slides open and is secured with a key, providentially found still in the lock.

Inside were a number of tightly rolled slips of paper once secured by clear tape. Each slip contains a name and some are dated 1969 or 1970. The pieces of tape have since dried and come loose.

Three of the names are Mary Mackintosh, Guy Reynolds and Carroll Simpson.

A check with former Selectman Bob Rogers disclosed the use of the box, although he said it was no longer in use when he was a selectman in the late 1970s.

Prospective jurors names were selected from the town’s voting check list according to a formula devised each year by the Secretary of State’s Office.

As an example, starting with the letter M, every ninth name was chosen until the required number was obtained.

Those names were written on a slip of paper by the person drawn, then rolled, sealed and stored in the box until needed.

“When I was in office,” Rogers said, “we used the same method for selection, but we just sent the list to Concord.”

Names are now selected by the state randomly by computer.

The box will be stored by the society until there is an occasion to put it on display.