PHILLIPS — Laura Toothaker received the Boston Post Cane Friday, Dec. 28 in a ceremony acknowledging her as the town’s oldest resident.

Laura Toothaker, at left, receives the Boston Post Cane Friday, Dec. 28 from Dave Vincent, chairman of the Phillips board of selectmen. (Franklin Journal photo by Dee Menear)


In 1909, the Boston Post sent gold-headed canes to 700 New England towns, asking that they be given to the oldest male resident. In 1930, the honor was changed to include both male and female residents. The newspaper went out of business in 1957 but many towns continue the tradition of recognizing its oldest citizen with the cane.

Dave Vincent, board of selectmen chairman presented the cane and certificate to Toothaker. “The board has been bestowed the honor of making this presentation to you,” he said. “We would not have known about the cane if it were not for you.”

Toothaker said the cane was presented eight or 10 times during her 35-year career as town clerk. There are no records of the cane being presented after Toothaker’s retirement in 2006.

Vincent said it was a conversation with Toothaker last year which led to the discovery of the cane in the town safe. The tradition was reestablished in August 2018 when selectmen presented Mavis Henderson with the cane.


“It was Laura who revived the tradition,” said Vincent. “It is only fitting that she be a recipient of the cane.”

Vincent pointed out the last owner of the Boston Post, John Fox, was a resident of the town.

When asked if she cared to share her age, Toothaker said, “Your age kind of becomes public knowledge when you receive the cane. I’m 96.”

Toothaker said, “I am most proud of all the work I have done for the town.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: