Passing the Boston Post Cane
Seated front and center, Arthur “Bo” Rose sat dressed in a green suit, all spruced up for the occasion. It was Saturday, Nov. 16, his 92nd birthday party and the passing of the Boston Post Cane. Arthur is the latest recipient of the cane, which is bestowed upon the island’s oldest resident. The tradition was started in 1909 by the Boston Post newspaper.
As people filtered into the 1661 Inn, Arthur greeted them from his seat. With two vacant chairs by his side, per his request, friends and family had a chance to sit and visit with him. Balloons and decorations adorned the walls, and the room buzzed with the voices and laughter of dozens of people. His son Marshall Rose made a surprise visit from Micco, Florida, as well as his niece, Connie Capron, from Attleboro, Mass.
A birthday cake was brought out and everyone joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Soon after, Kim Gaffett, First Warden of Block Island, stood next to Arthur holding the Boston Post Cane in her hand. She then read a proclamation, which said in part: “For more than One Hundred years, New Shoreham has proudly continued the tradition of presenting the cane to the Island’s oldest citizen. It is with great pleasure that I respectfully present this cane to Arthur Rose, on the happy occasion of his ninety-second birthday, with hopes that he enjoys the cane for a good long time.” She then handed the cane to Arthur, who graciously accepted it.
When asked how he felt about being presented with the Cane, Arthur replied, “I felt happy, and then sad, because I didn’t think I was that old.” He also noted that he had a wonderful time at the party with all of his friends, saying, “I don’t know what I would do without them.”
Arthur is the 24th recipient of the Boston Post Cane on Block Island.
New Shoreham Boston Post Cane recipients:
1909 - 1912 William Lewis
1912 - 1913 Hiram D. Willis
1913 - 1915 James E. Dewey
1915 - 1917 Horatio Nelson Dickens
1923 - 1926 Martin O. Ball
1927 - 1930 Aaron Sprague
1930 - 1937 Giles P. Dunn
1938 - 1944 Edwin A. Dodge
1944 - 1946 Napoleon Bonapart Rose
1946 - 1950 David A. Mitchell
1954 - 1965 Abraham Lincoln Payne, Sr.
1965 - 1967 Ada (Mitchell) Dunn
1967 - 1970 Ida L. Sprague
1970 - 1978 Laura May Hooper
1978 - Ellen “Nellie” Maxfield
1990 - 1991 Linus Dodge
1991 - 1995 Frederick J. Benson
1997 - 1998 Phyllis Queally
1998 - 2005 Iris Lewis
2005 - 2007 Harriet Phelan
2007 - 2007 Winnifred Pratt
2007 - 2010 Margaret Millikin
2010 -2012 Walter Gasner