Boston Post Cane Recipients in New Sweden, Maine
Your tombstone stands among the rest, Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out…On old gray granite stone.
It reaches out to all who care…It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist…You died…and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you…In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse…Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled…One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left…Who would have loved you so.
I wonder when you lived and loved; I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot…And come and visit you.
The Boston Post Cane for New Sweden is presented to the oldest living resident of New Sweden by the town of New Sweden. The canes were distributed to towns in New England by the newspaper the Boston Post for the purpose of recognizing the elders in each town. The original Boston Post cane for New Sweden is housed in the New Sweden Historical Society Museum and is ceremoniously presented to the recipients as the occasion presents itself. The following list of recipients accompanies the cane in the museum case.
List of Boston Post Cane Holders in New Sweden, Maine: (years the cane was held preceeds name of recipient)
1907-1910 Eric Sjoblum
1910-1913 Eric C. Olivenbom I
1913-1921 John Otto Wickstrom
1921-1925 Eric Malmquist
1925-1927 Truls Pearson
1927-1927 John Peterson
1927-1932 Anders Olson
1932-1935 E. C. A. Olivenbom II
1935-1935 Jonas Peterson
1935-1936 Maria Sundstrom
1937-1939 Nels Bengston
1939-1942 Lars Peter Larsson
1942-1952 Hana (Jenson) Larson
1952-1954 Eric O. Hedman
1954-1959 Martin Sandstrom
1959-1961 John N. Johnson
1961-1962 Lars N. Larson
1962-1967 Ellin (Olson) Johnson
1967-1968 Hilma (Peterson Carlson) Wickstrom
1968-1977 Alma Peterson
1977-1977 Dr. Jane Hall
1977-1989 Herman Anderson age 93
1989-1993 Elvira (Johnson) Engstrom age 93
1993-1996 Mildred (Hedman) Taylor age 93
1996-2004 A. Forrest Nelson age 91
2004-2005 Madeline Madge (Fay) Nelson age 94
2005-2008 Helen (Johnson) Borjeson age 94 ¾
2008-present Edmund F. Anderson age 96
About the Boston Post Cane:
“In August 1909, Mr. Edwin A. Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post, a newspaper, forwarded to the Board of Selectmen in 700 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.
The canes were all made by J. F. Fradley and Co., a New York manufacturer, 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 1930, after considerable controversy, eligibility for the cane was opened to women as well.”
Retrieved from http://web.maynard.ma.us/history/bpcane.htm
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Update on December 27, 2010: Edmund Anderson passed away on July 22, 2010. His wife Eloise Adele Larsson Anderson became the next holder of the Boston Post Cane. She was born in 1916 in New Sweden.