Lantern to be donated to Town Hall
Many years ago, before Town Hall had electricity, there was a lantern over the front door. Pictures show it as an elaborate glass fixture that was either gas or kerosene.
It vanished long ago, and apparently no one knows what happened to it.
Residents Clayton and Polly Brown would like to replace that lantern in memory of Warren "Shiner" Murdough, a lifelong resident of north Lyndeborough.
Brown, a former road agent who worked many years with Murdough, approached the selectmen on Nov. 11 with the proposal.
"Shiner worked for the town for over 30 years," he said."We think something should be done in his memory."
A wide variety of replica lanterns is available, Brown said, "and we’d pick something appropriate" to the age of the hall "that would look good."
The new light would be installed in the spring.
Murdough died of cancer in 2007 at age 84. He probably knew more about the town’s roads than anyone else, since he had worked on them since 1939. Known as "Buddy" to his family, the town knew him as "Shiner," although he said he did not recall why.
He started his road career in 1939 under Ernest Ross, and he became the town’s expert on the road grader, teaching many younger men how to operate it.
After World War II, during which Mudough served in the Army – first in Europe and then in the Philippines – he became a permanent member of the highway department, known then as "the road crew," probably around 1950, Brown said.
Brown worked under his father-in-law, Earl Bullard, for some years, and then succeeded him as road agent. Murdough also worked on a chicken farm and as a logger.
"He was the swamper," Brown said, referring to the person who clears the road for the logs to be hauled out.
There are many "Shiner stories" among older residents. A favorite is the night Murdough got the snow plow stuck in a huge drift in Lyndeborough Center. Lacking a radio or other means of communication, he went to the town barn, crawled into the town’s horse-drawn hearse and went to sleep for the rest of the night.
"It was comfortable," he said later – and it was the only warm place available.
"He needs to be remembered," Brown said.
The selectmen unanimously approved the donation.
Town Administrator Russ Boland said a "discreet sign" would be installed describing the gift.