West Brookfield Historical Commission – Boston Cane

West Brookfield Historical Commission – Boston Cane

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West Brookfield Historical Commission Has reinstated the practice of

The Boston Post Cane

Honoring the Oldest citizen of West Brookfield

Brass Plaque Inscriptions

1st Recipient – Grace Maukin Couch

2nd Recipient – Isabel Carpenter Cane presented: January, 2003

3rd Recipient – Stella Paquette – March 2007

4th Recipient – Miriam Potter – November 2008

5th Recipient is John Murphy – May 24, 2010

The Cane is symbolic of the original Boston Post Cane which was given to the oldest citizen of a Town by the Newspaper “The Boston Post”.

The Town of West Brookfield has its original cane in a special case in the Town Hall.

The Boston Post Cane

An interesting New England tradition which has survived until the present day is that of the Gold Headed Cane given to the oldest citizen of a Town.

The canes were distributed by the Boston Post in 1899 to six hundred ninety-two New England towns, with directions they be held by the eldest male citizen of each community during his lifetime. Later, the rules were changed to eliminate the sex limitations.

The ebony canes were made from special lumber imported from the Congo, cut to length and then seasoned for six months. They were later turned over lathes, covered with shellac, rubbed with pumice, varnished and hand polished with fine pumice and oil. The entire process took a year, but the results were well worthwhile. The 14 Karat Gold heads were hand decorated.

In 1968, twenty canes were located. Fourteen of them were in the hands of their proper custodians. Many have been lost or stored away and forgotten.

West Brookfield has restored this honored tradition.

Copyright 2001 West Brookfield Historical Commission Last modified: 01/01/2009