Boston Post Cane Recipients

History of the 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.

J.F. Fradley and Co., a New York manufacturer made all the canes, from ebony shipped in seven-foot lengths from the Congo in Africa. They were cut to cane lengths, seasoned for six 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 two towns in Vermont are known to have canes.

In 1924, Mr. Grozier died, and the Boston Post was taken over by his son, Richard, who failed to continue his father's success and eventually died in a mental hospital. At one time, the Boston Post was considered the nation's leading standard-sized newspaper in circulation. Competition from other newspapers, radio, and television contributed to the decline of the Post and it went out of business in 1957.

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.

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

Boston Post Cane
Palermo's Recipients

Citizen Name Birth Death Age at Death
Virginia Cullivan1924Current Holder
Charles R. Merrithew1924201893
Madeline C. (Bachelor) Belden Haskell1922201693
Hilda A. (Skidmore) Leeman1921201593
Mary Lea (Perry) Banton1920201493
Mildred M. (Bartlett) Priest1918201393
Virginia (Wescott) Dowe1916201295
Edith (Studley) Ward 1913201197
Henry/Harry 'Vaughn' Cail1913200894
Freda Marion (Worthing) Ulbrich Bradstreet1911200795
Ruby Adelia (Candage) Nelson Elliott1907200395
Clara Etta (Holloway) Foster1905200196
Mary G. (Osgood) Merrithew1903199996
Willie/William Royneil Merrithew1901199392
Charles Frank Gerrish1899199394
Beatrice (Worthing) Glidden1898199193
Gertrude Estelle (Brown) Towle1895199094
Claude E. Archer1892198592
Arthur M. Boynton1890198594
Gertrude M. Jordan1888198091
Henry Pollacek1883197692
Caroline/Carrie Sally (Parmenter) Worthing1875197498
Carrie Winnifred (Linscott) Norton1872196694
Rev. George Byron Davis1874196389
Lewis A. Day1863195693
Elon S. Kitchen1855194994
Woodbury Tibbetts1851194694
Daniel Turner Hannan1850193181
Sarah Jane (Bowler) Bailey1835193095

Researched and edited by Becky Dow Burnham, Southwest Harbor, Maine.