PHIPPSBURG — Phippsburg is looking for its oldest resident to carry on a once-lost New England tradition that dates back over a century.  

After the town’s oldest resident passed away last month at age 103, Phippsburg officials are looking for the town’s oldest resident to receive the Boston Post Cane. Candidates must have lived in the town for at least the past 10 years. 

Submissions can be sent to Amber Jones, Phippsburg’s town administrator, at [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Jan. 1.

The 110-year-old tradition began in 1909 when Edwin Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post newspaper, sent ebony canes topped with a 14-carat gold handle to more than 700 town selectmen throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as a means of drumming up publicity and support for the paper. The canes were to be presented to each town’s oldest resident, who would keep it until their death. 

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

While the daily newspaper folded in 1956, the Boston Post Cane tradition lives on in several towns across Maine and New England. 

While Phippsburg was given a cane in 1909, the original cane was lost and a new one was purchased in 2014 to commemorate the town’s 200th anniversary, according to the town’s 2012 annual report. Phippsburg also purchased a plaque engraved with all the cane holders’ names and the year they were awarded the cane, which hangs in the town hall. 

The most recent Phippsburg resident to hold the cane was Margaret Wyman, who passed away on Nov. 18 at the age of 103.  

According to her obituary, Wyman worked for the state as a clerk typist, where she eventually rose to the position of buyer for the state. After working in Augusta for 38 years, she and her husband moved to Phippsburg where she became active with the Phippsburg Historical Society, the Albert F. Totman Library and the Bodwell Grange. 

Wyman was also known as a talented seamstress who made both her professional wardrobe as well as many museum-quality doll clothes. She was also an avid doll collector who amassed a prodigious doll collection; one of her dolls was used in the opening scene of the movie, “Message in a Bottle.”

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