Mary Rose honored with Boston Post Cane

Aug 13, 2019

The Board of Selectmen presented the Boston Post Cane to Mary Rose on August 13. Born and raised in Onset, 105-year-old Rose is the oldest Wareham resident. 

“We, the Board of Selectmen extend our wish for health, happiness, and good fortune,” said selectman Mary Bruce. “Congratulations!”

"It’s very very very wonderful for me and for my family, and I thank everybody here,” replied Rose. 

The Boston Post Cane traditionally goes to the oldest resident living in town. 

The 110-year-old tradition began when Edwin Grozier, the publisher of the Boston Post newspaper, sent gold-headed ebony canes to more than 600 towns throughout New England as a means of drumming up publicity and support for the paper. 

Initially, the cane only went to the oldest male resident, but that changed in 1930, when women also became eligible to hold it.

Because the cane belongs to the town and not the recipient, upon the previous holder’s death the honor is automatically passed on to the next oldest resident.

The Boston Post went out of business in 1957, but the custom of the Boston Post Cane still continues in many communities today. While some towns no longer follow the practice, Wareham continues to do so – partly to preserve the tradition and partly to preserve the cane, which is itself a valuable historical artifact.

Chair Patrick Tropeano noted that the town gave out a replica of the cane for several years while storing the original in the library, but has since returned to allowing the oldest resident to use the antique cane.

Wareham's previous recipient of the award, Gladys Ide, passed away on October 9 at the age of 101.