The Boston Post Gold Headed Cane Award

History of the Boston Post Gold Headed 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.

Nobleboro’s Cane Recipients
This award given by the Boston Post began in August 1909. The inscription on the cane reads "Presented by the Boston Post, to the oldest citizen of Nobleborough, Maine - To be Transmitted." The slight dent in the gold head of the cane was made by Eugene Hall while thumping the cane to get the attention of his housekeeper. He was hard of hearing.

Citizen Name   Age at death
Isaac Umberhind 1812 - 1910 97
Joseph Overlock 1820 - 1916 95
William A. Vanner 1829 - 1921 91
James Augusta Nash 1839 - 1930 91
Sewell P. York 1840 - 1936 96
Amanda Nash Kaler 1843 – 1944 100
Nancy Nash Moody 1848 - 1955 107
Eugene W. Hall 1862 – 1960 97
Alice Nash Simmons 1866 – 1965 99
Mauice Mulligan 1869 – 1971 101
The cane was misplaced from 1971 to 1977 but was retrieved and returned to the town by Elizabeth Cousins.
Jennie Trask Hall 1883 – 1980 97
Laila Umberhind Howell 1889 – 1985 95
George F. Jones 1890 – 1995 105
Mabel F. Sidelinger 1891 – 1996 105
Hazel Murray 1897 – 2002 104
Nettie Starkey 1903 – 2005 102
Ruth E. Dow 1905 – 2005 101
Doris Hall 1904 - 2005 100
George F. Dow 1905 - 2006 100
Mildred Genthner 1906 -  
Original list compiled by Dr. George F. Dow until 2006