It is with great honor that the Select Board presents Andover’s Boston Post Cane to Irene Jewett as our current steward for longevity.
It was a beautiful first day of Spring as family and friends gathered on Maple Street, and via Zoom, to celebrate the tradition of passing on the Boston Post Cane to Andover’s eldest citizen. The cane was last presented to Millie Longfellow in June 2017 at the age of 97. Irene is currently 99 years old and will turn 100 in July. We hope that she will proudly hold the cane for many years to come.
In 1909, The Boston Post engaged in its most famous publicity stunt. The newspaper publisher, Edwin A. Grozier, had 700 ornate, ebony-shafted, gold-capped canes produced and then contacted the Selectmen in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island towns with a population over 500 citizens. The Boston Post Canes were given to the Selectmen with the request that the canes be presented in a ceremony to the town’s oldest living man. The custom was expanded to include women in 1930.
More than 500 towns in New England still carry on the Boston Post Cane tradition with the original canes they were awarded in 1909. Of New Hampshire’s 224 towns at that time, 176 were recipients of the cane. Unfortunately, many communities have lost their canes, but approximately 140 New Hampshire towns still award the Boston Post Cane to their eldest resident. The cane presented today is an authentic replica – Andover’s original Boston Post Cane is held in trust by the Andover Historical Society.
It turns out that Irene is not the first in her family to be the holder of the Andover’s Boston Post Cane. Her mother, Myrtie, received the cane in 1978.
The Town records about the cane are somewhat vague, so if any readers have information they can share about its history we’d love to hear from you. It would be fun to report how many recipients there have been.
- Who were the youngest and the oldest at the time of the award?
- Who held the cane the longest?
- Was our original cane ever “misplaced” or forgotten?
- When did the Town have the replica made so that we could ensure our original wasn’t lost?
- Are holders of the cane often celebrated at the Fourth of July parade?
- Are there other traditions surrounding the cane that we can share?
If you can provide any information concerning Andover’s Boston Post Cane, please email AndoverNH2021@nullgmail.com