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!
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.
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
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.
I keep trying to keep on top of the submissions, but life just keeps getting in the way. We’re so grateful for all the updates, photographs and stories we receive about the canes and the holders. We may be slow, but we’re careful with every bit of news you send our way.
Current tally: 309 towns
[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.