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.
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.)
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!
This cane likes to hide. This is the second time it has been lost for 50 years!
Sarah Longden, who resides in Maine, recently opened a box belonging to her father who was a former Selectman in the Town of Palmer, Massachusetts. Much to her surprise she found a cane that had been missing since 1952.
In a slightly ironic twist the last recipient of the cane, Daniel Splaine, received it in 1952 – 50 years after it was lost in 1909. The Palmer Historical Commission is working to keep the cane safe from here forward.
Read more on this great find: Mass Live Article (pdf)
Thanks to John Sasur and the discoverer herself, Sarah Longden, for all the information on this great find.
Elisha Lee, President of the Dover Historical Society, informed us that Dover’s cane was recently discovered in an antique shop and was recovered by members of their Historical Society. Where the cane has been will continue to be an ongoing research project.
Dover’s cane is known to have been originally presented to Asa Talbot, a dairy farmer, cabinet maker, and nine term Selectman born in Sharon on April 15, 1816. Mr. Talbot died in Dover on October 21, 1910 in his 94th year.
[From a recent email we received]
You can add one more cane to your total!
Just this morning, the Town of West Bridgewater’s Boston Post Cane came to light! It had been uncovered in the former assembly hall for Town Meetings on the second floor of our historic Town Hall when renovations of that space took place several years ago to create badly needed office space and stored in the Building Inspector’s office unbeknownst to many.
It wasn’t until today however that the Town’s temporary Inspector showed it to me that I instantly knew what it was and further knew that former Selectman Judith Kinney and former Town Clerk Marion Leonard had been on a hunt for the cane for more than 25 years!
Now that it has been found, research will be undertaken to find out who may have been the last person to have it, others who may have had it at one time, and its future with the current Board of Selectmen. Reading through what other Towns have done with theirs, is inspiring and I am hopeful my Board of Selectmen will look towards preserving it physically (it is still sheathed in the original leather casing with handle!), while honoring the intent of the tradition’s founder Edwin Grozier in a suitable way.
Good Luck with finding the remaining 390+ canes.
Elizabeth D. Faricy
Board of Selectmen
Town of West Bridgewater
This month we passed the 300 mark of towns that have reported updates on their canes. Our next milestone is 350, which would be the half-way mark to hearing about all 700 canes.
Thanks to all of the Historical Societies, Town Clerks, Selectmen, Town Officials, community and family members who have sent us updates on the canes throughout New England. Together we’ll continue the history of this odd, but charming New England tradition.
The Associated Press has reported that Westmoreland, NH resident Mary Josephine Ray has died at age 114, 294 days.
Born on Prince Edward Island in May 1895, she lived to be the oldest person in New Hampshire (ever), the oldest person in the United States, and the second oldest person in the world.
(via the AP and Yahoo! news, notified courtesy of Stephen Hoffman)
We’re pretty sure Mary Josephine Ray of Westmoreland, NH is the oldest holder of the Boston Post Cane. Today she celebrates her 114th birthday!
According to Wikipedia, Mary is the oldest person in New Hampshire, 2nd oldest person in the United States, and the 3rd oldest person in the world.
She’s a Boston Red Sox fan — and could well be the oldest Sox fan ever – she was 13 when the Red Sox team formed in 1908.
Congratulations to Mary and her friends and family.
As noted in earlier entries in this journal, a group of residents in the town of Watertown, MA ponied up the money needed to purchase the town’s cane from an antiques dealer and return it to the Watertown Historical Society.
That has happened and everyone is very happy about the town’s cane is now safely on display.
For more information read the Watertown TAB article.
If anyone has photos or stories from this event, please share them with us.