GILMANTON — Selectmen presented Rose Marie Young , 96, with the township's Boston Post Cane in a ceremony attended by about 40 people at Town Hall Wednesday afternoon.
Young, who will turn 97 on October 14, is a former school board member who was also at one time the assistant postal officer in Gilmanton Iron Works.
The cane is presented to the oldest person in town and is a tradition in many New England communities, dating back to 1909.
Asked about the secret of her longevity, Young quipped ''I don't think I had much to do with it. It just happened.''
She is still active in the Gilmanton Community Church, the Women's Fellowship and the Post 102 American Legion Auxiliary.
Young was born in New York and moved to Gilmanton Iron Works with her husband, Morton, in 1951. The home which was owned by family members Eben and Cora Young and was operated as a bed and breakfast.
The couple had two sons, Morton, who lives with his partner Sue Bowne, and Don, who lives with his wife Rachel, and have three children, Christie, Brett and Chelsea. Additionally she has four great grandchildren.
Young also worked as a trust officer with the First National Bank of Boston.
The previous holder of Gilmanton's Boston Post Cane, James Pennock, passed away in February at the age of 99. He had been presented with the cane in 2008.
The Boston Post Cane tradition was started by the Post as a publicity stunt under the ownership of Edwin A. Grozier in 1909. The newspaper had several hundred ornate, gold-tipped canes made and contacted the selectmen in New England's largest towns. The Boston Post Canes were given to the selectmen and presented in a ceremony to the town's oldest living man. The custom was expanded to include a community's oldest women in 1930.
The Boston Post was the most popular daily newspaper in New England for over a hundred years before it folded in 1956. In the 1930s the Boston Post had grown to be one of the largest newspapers in the country, with a circulation of well over a million readers.
CAPTION: pix slugged post cane 1,2
Rose Marie Young, 96, examines the Boston Post Cane by Gilmanton Selectmen Wednesday afternoon. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)