Boston Post Cane

In August 1909, Mr. Edwin A. Grozier, Publisher of the Boston Post, a newspaper, forwarded to the Board of Selectmen in 431 towns (no cities included) in New England a gold-headed ebony cane with the request that it be presented with the compliments of the Boston Post to the oldest male citizen of the town, to be used by him as long as he lives (or moves from the town), and at his death handed down to the next oldest citizen of the town. The cane would belong to the town and not the man who received it.
Boston Post Cane and Knob

Construction & Presentation

The canes were all made by J.F. Fradley and Co., a New York manufacturer, from ebony shipped in 7-foot lengths from the Congo in Africa. They were cut to cane lengths, seasoned for 6 months, turned on lathes to the right thickness, coated and polished. They had a 14-carat gold head two inches long, decorated by hand, and a ferruled tip. The head was engraved with the inscription, "Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of (name of town) To Be Transmitted". The Board of Selectmen were to be the trustees of the cane and keep it always in the hands of the oldest citizen. Apparently no Connecticut towns were included, and only 2 towns in Vermont are known to have canes.

In 1930, after considerable controversy, eligibility for the cane was opened to women as well.

"Boston Post Cane" Certificate

The custom of the Boston Post Cane took hold in those towns lucky enough to have canes. As years went by some of the canes were lost, stolen, taken out of town and not returned to the Selectmen or destroyed by accident. The Douglas cane was eventually lost along with several replicas. The Douglas Board of Selectmen now presents a yearly "Boston Post Cane" certificate to the resident holding the position of eldest citizen in Douglas.

In 2004 an initiative was started to keep the time honored tradition alive. A display case was designed by Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane as a way to house a replica of the cane and display recipients. The case was built by Sean Crawford (Blackstone), Vin Hashey (Uxbridge), and David Slavin (Milford); students from the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in 2006.  (see slide show below)
Past Chair Shirley Mosczynski presenting Philomene Fanny Yacio with her certificate in August 2004
Philomene "Fannie" m. Yacino presented the Boston Post Cane certificate in 2004, by BoS Chairman, Shirley Mosczynski.
Selectman Cortese, and Suzanne Kane, present Boston Post Cane certificate to Martha Chupka
Martha M. Cupka presented the Boston Post Cane certificate in 2016 by BoS Vice Chair David Cortese, and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.
Nancy Colonero
Nancy L. Colonero presented the Boston Post Cane certificate in 2019 by BoS members (l-r), Michael Hughes, Timothy Bonin, Vice Chair David Cortese, Harold Davis, and Chairman Kevin Morse.