Nobleboro officials presented the Boston Post Cane to the town’s oldest resident on Tuesday, May 3.
While sitting in his chair looking out on a scenic view of Great Salt Bay, Arthur Jones, 98, received the cane. Three generations of his family were in attendance: daughter Susan McCuller, granddaughter Melissa Coy, and great-grandson Liam Coy.
Nobleboro Town Clerk Mary Ellen Anderson was joined by Selectmen Al Lewis and Dick Spear to present the gold-capped cane to Jones.
Jones said he has lived in Nobleboro his entire life and his family has lived in the town for generations. He said the only time he wasn’t living in the area was during 4 1/2 years of service in the U.S. military.
Jones served as part of a ground crew on B-24 heavy bombers both in the states and in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
The publisher of the Boston Post, Edwin Grozier, gifted gold-headed ebony canes to hundreds of New England towns in 1909 with instructions to present the cane, with the newspaper’s compliments, to the eldest male resident of the town.
The man could hold and use the cane as long as he lived or until he moved to another town, when the cane would pass to the new eldest male resident. Women became eligible for the cane in 1930.
The Boston Post went out of business in 1957, but the cane tradition continues in many New England towns.
Indicating the age of the ceremonial cane, Nobleboro’s Boston Post Cane is emblazoned with the spelling “Nobleborough.”
The official post cane will stay at the town office for safekeeping, but recipients keep a certificate indicating their status as the town’s oldest resident.
The town clerk said the selectmen recently discussed handing out replica canes in the future.