Our index just hit another milestone

With a new (to us) update from Cumberland, Rhode Island, our catalog of Boston Post Canes just tipped to 469 towns.  Now that might seem to be a odd number to get excited about, but it represents our having the status of over 2/3rds of the 700 canes!

This is a great community effort and we appreciate the help of everyone who sends in those news clippings and sightings which keep the tradition alive.  Thank you!

Burlington MA rediscovers its cane

While we always welcome news of towns that have been continuing the tradition of the cane, it is especially heartening to hear about towns that restart the tradition after a cane has “gone missing” and then recovered.  The latest town to have this happen is Burlington, Massachusetts where their original cane is once again in the hands of the town (and will be put on display from now on).

We don’t know how long the article will be available, but you can read about their cane in this Daily Times Chronicle article by Mark Biagotti.

We also recently received an update from Hinsdale, Massachusetts which kindly included a full list of that town’s recipients!  Many thanks to James D. Manning for all of the information.

We’ve inched our way to the 465 mark of known cane reports.  Thanks to everyone who contributes updates!

2014 Wrapup

I just completed the end-of-the-year edit of the site, updating dozens of towns and adding a bunch since the last major update in April.   I continue to hope that I will be able to provide more frequent updates in the future, but regardless of my tardiness the history of the canes continues to be written and expanded with the help of so many of you who have written in (both this past year and for so many years before).

Here’s how we’re doing as of December 2014:

  • Maine: we have updates on 196 of them.
  • Massachusetts: we have updates on 137 of them.
  • New Hampshire: we have updates on 109 of them.
  • Rhode Island: we have updates on 16 of them.

With checkins from 458 towns we are now past the 65% mark to finding what’s happening with all 700 canes.  (And that doesn’t include 1 update from Florida, Massachusetts – which we don’t believe received a cane – but started the tradition 100 years later anyways!)

2012 wrapup – we passed 400 towns!

I just finished the updates for 2012 and was thrilled to discover that somewhere in the past few months we passed the 400 mark of towns that we have updates from (we crossed 300 towns back in 2010) — we’re currently at 411 towns.

This would not be possible without the contributions from so many people, but in particular I have to tip my hat to Steve Hoffman who continues to provide me with a steady heartbeat of news reports.   Thanks Steve!

Dozens of other contributors from town officials, historical society members, and proud family members help provide updates and some have dug deep into their town’s history and shared it with us.   Fantastic.

Please continue to send in your updates.  I know I don’t update this site as often as you or I wish, but we are committed to telling this continuing story.

Dave Griffin

2012 news

Thanks to the intrepid research of folks like Steve Hoffman and dozens of other contributors we cross the halfway mark in 2011 for the number of canes we have information on.  We currently have updates on 361 of the 700 canes that were distributed over 100 years ago.

We recently discovered a second theft of a Boston Post Cane that occurred in 2009 inLeominster MA, just a few short years after they had recovered the cane.  Money was raised to commission a replica cane because they valued the tradition for their community.  It’s nice to see the spirit of honoring a town’s eldest citizen to be the core of the tradition and not the canes themselves.

In 2009, Somerset County, Maine, celebrated its bicentennial with a series of Boston Post Cane awards.  We have the names of towns but no other news.   If you know anything about the cane’s status in the towns of Athens, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock or Solon please let us know because we’re pretty sure they are continuing the tradition in some way.

We look forward to hearing from more corners of New England in 2012.

Boston Post Cane Stolen from Clinton, ME

Clinton, Maine’s Boston Post Cane was stolen from our town hall sometime during the weekend of June 3-5, 2011. It was in a display case opposite the service window and around the corner from the police station housed in the same building.  The town is heartbroken, but are hoping to get it back.

As of July, 2011 the cane is still missing despite a search of local antique stores and pawn shops.  The town is encouraging the thief to return the cane.  If caught the perpetrator will face felony charges.

We encourage anyone seeing the Clinton cane to contact the authorities.

(See the WABI news report on the theft.)

A cane surfaces in NH and a birthday greeting

Lorna Colquhoun, a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, reported that the town of Bethlehem, New Hampshire has found their cane after a nearly 40 year absence.  The cane was hiding away in a closet just a few miles away.

Read Lorna’s wonderful story.

We don’t normally do birthday greetings here, and even this one is belated, but we wanted to wish Vivian P. Henschke, holder of Longmeadow, MA’s Boston Post Cane who celebrated her 109th birthday on March 23rd with her son, Robert, her daughter and son-in-law, Karen & Russell Preston, and a number of grandchildren, great grandchildren & friends.

Wow!  Happy Birthday Vivian!

Searching for a possible cane recipient

Bob Coughlin wrote us asking if we could help find out more about an ancestor that may have received the Boston Post Cane in Arlington:

I have been told that my great grandfather Arthur Coughlin  who died 11/5/29, born I think in 1843, maybe earlier, received the  cane for the Town of Arlington in the ’20’s.  I have no further info  on it and would appreciate hearing something about it and him, as he  seems to be the oldest Coughlin in my family history.

I have been told by my cousins, whom he lived with in the 20’s that he had received the cane for the Town of Arlington.  He died on Nov. 5, 1929, the month before I was born, and his name is Arthur J. Coughlin according to the grave stone.  I have been informed that he was born either in 1843 or 1837, probably the latter, if he received the cane.  I was hoping to get more info from the cousins, but they have been dying off, and the remaining one can’t find the historical data her sister had accumulated.  They were the O’Connell family from Arlington’s Norcross St., where he lived and died from.

If you have any information that might help Bob on his quest, please leave a comment here or send me an email and I’ll forward it to him.

Thanks!

End of year updates

Due to an exceptionally busy Fall, I fell behind with the updates from mid-October.  They are all now in their place and we’re just shy of 320 towns.

I appreciate all the updates, corrections and stories that come our way.  We share them all.

Happy Holidays from the Maynard Historical Society