TILTON — Seeking to perpetuate a tradition that began more than a century ago, town officials are searching for the town's oldest resident on whom to bestow the Boston Post Cane.
The tradition of the cane originated in 1909 as a promotional gimmick hatched by Edwin Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post newspaper. He sent canes fashioned of ebony from what was then the Belgian Congo and capped in 14 carat gold to the selectmen of 431 towns across New England. Each cane was inscribed "Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of ________."
The first cane was awarded in Tilton to Joseph L. Thompson, who was born in 1817 during the presidency of James Monroe, in 1909. William Bayley was the last to hold the cane from January 2010 until his passing in October 2013 at 96 years young.
The original Boston Post Cane is on permanent display at the Town Hall and the names of the recipients appear on a plaque on its case. Each recipient receives a replica of the cane, along with a certificate recognizing him or her as the oldest resident.
Nominees must have resided in Tilton for at least ten years, but residency in a nursing home or assisted living facility will not disqualify anyone whose permanent domicile, verified by either voter registration or tax records, remains in Tilton. Should the oldest resident decline to accept the cane, it will be retained by the town until his or her death when a new candidate will be chosen. Candidates or their representative must provide an original or certified copy of their birth certificate and proof of residency.
For further information contact Town Clerk Cindy Reinartz at 286-4425, extension 104.