POLAND — A Minot resident on the heels of her 100th birthday was awarded the Boston Post Cane during a ceremony Saturday at the Poland Springs Resort.

Martha Bartlett officially gained centenarian status on Sept. 25. The real celebration, however, would begin six days later as friends and family from across the country gathered for the first time since before the pandemic, clogging the resort’s parking lot with vehicles sporting out-of-state license plates from Massachusetts to Virginia and Illinois.

“It feels good,” shared Bartlett, who sat facing her guests at her own table under a large “Happy 100th Birthday” banner. “I didn’t expect to see all these people.”

The event was coordinated by Bartlett’s son David and her granddaughter Kim Walsh. David Bartlett, a selectman in his own hometown of Bethel, inquired about the tradition with Minot while Walsh organized the celebration. Family lore has it that the Poland Spring Resort is where Bartlett met her husband, making Saturday’s event a full-circle moment, according to Walsh.

Martha Bartlett of Minot and members of her family look at the Boston Post Cane that was presented Saturday at the Poland Spring Resort.  Some towns ceremoniously present the cane to their oldest resident. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“I figured turning 100 is a great feat and if she would get the Boston (Post) Cane for it I think that would be a great achievement for her and her family,” said David Bartlett. “I have great respect for that.”

“We have planned this for quite some time,” said Alicia Cote, Bartlett’s great-granddaughter who helped prepare along with her mother, Kim Walsh.


“She had no idea this was going to happen, it was a complete surprise. She thought that she was coming here for lunch. It’s just amazing that she’s 100. I’ve never met anyone who’s 100-years-old. And she’s sharp as a tack. She doesn’t skip a beat,” she said.

The Boston Post Cane, a New England tradition started by the now-defunct Boston Post newspaper in 1909, is awarded by select boards to the oldest resident of a town. The original cane given to Minot, made from imported Congolese ebony and 14 carat gold, has long since disappeared. Recipients are ceremoniously gifted a replica which the town maintains.

The original intent was for canes to belong to the town and not any one individual. According to the Town of Minot website, a special case is being created to display the cane at the Town Office along with the names of all recipients. Bartlett has become the 10th Minot resident to be presented with the Boston Post Cane.

“I feel like it’s quite an accomplishment and it means a lot to the family,” Walsh said. “(Bartlett) is the matriarch for sure.”

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