The Origins of the Boston Post Cane

In 1909, under the savvy ownership of Edwin A. Grozier, the Boston Post engaged in its most famous publicity stunt. The paper had several hundred ornate, gold-tipped canes made and contacted the selectmen in New England’s largest towns. The Boston Post Canes were given to the selectmen and presented in a ceremony to the town’s oldest living man.[6].  Between 400 to 600 of the fancy walking sticks were sent to towns in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire, each engraved on the head.   In 1909 Newmarket had a large enough population to qualify it the prestige of being a large NH town.

The custom was expanded to include a community’s oldest women in 1930. Many towns in New England still carry on the Boston Post cane tradition with the original canes they were awarded in 1909.

No official town record has been found of the many men and women so honored over the many years; however the Town of Newmarket began an honor roll in 1977 of these grand residents. The honor roll is displayed alongside the original cane at the Town Hall.   The list of Newmarket recepients published here was compiled by Kathy Castle before she retired as the Town Administrative Secretary and  John Carmichael of the New Market Historical Society. 

Newmarket continues the tradition with replica canes. The original was lost for a while, but was returned by a family member.   Newmarket’s cane is 36 inches long, the shaft of African ebony, the engraved brass head covered in 14 karat gold, inscribed with the words “presented by the Boston Post to the Oldest Citizen of Newmarket, N.H.” 

The Boston Post was the most popular daily newspaper in New England for over a hundred years before it folded in 1956. The Post was founded in November 1831 by two prominent Boston businessmen, Charles G. Greene and William Beals.

By the 1930s, The Boston Post had grown to be one of the largest newspapers in the country, with a circulation of well over a million readers.  Throughout the 1940s, facing increasing competition from the Hearst-run papers in Boston and New York and from radio and television news, the paper began a decline from which it never recovered.


In 1909, The Boston Post described the cane as:

“The cane is a splendid specimen made by J. F. Fradley & Co. of New York, widely recognized as the leading manufacturers of fine canes. The materials used in the Boston Post cane are the best obtainable. The sticks are of Gaboon ebony from the Congo, Africa. They are shipped to this country in logs, about seven feet long, and then cut into stick lengths. They are allowed to dry for six months, so they will be thoroughly seasoned.  After this they are carefully examined;  all cracked, warped or otherwise imperfect sticks are discarded.  The perfect ones are then turned to the desired sizes on a lathe, and allowed about three months for further drying.  They are given a coat of shellac and rubbed down with pumice, coated with the finest quality of French varnish and then polished by hand with very fine pumice and oil. It takes about a year from the time the ebony logs are cut to produce a perfect stick.

“The gold in the heads of the Post canes is of 14 karat fineness. It is rolled into sheets, cut to the desired size and soldered in a conical tube, then placed in a sectional steel chuck or form, which admits of its being drawn into the exact shape of the finished head. The tops are first cut into discs, and then soldered to the cane after it has been shaped. They are then filled with a hard composition and “chased,” or ornamented, by hand, after which this composition filling is removed and they are sent to the polishing room for final finishing.

“The Boston Post cane is not merely an ornamental cane. It is designed for everyday usage and will last for many years.”



1909 — CAPTAIN JOHN BRACKETT , first recipient , died 1910 

Newmarket NH  Friday, September 3, 1909:

The Selectmen, after due investigation, found that Capt. John Brackett was the oldest male resident, and a few days ago called on him at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Ryan, at the Bayside, where he is at present boarding, and presented him with the cane. The old gentleman was greatly pleased with the cane and said he should prize it highly.

Capt. John Brackett was born in Newmarket, March 14, 1821, in the old Preston house, the son of John and Elizabeth (Murray) Brackett.  At the age of ten years he went to work for Seth Shackford, at the salary of 25 cents a day, and when but 12 years of age he secured employment with Admiral Caverley on a gondola which carried bales of cotton from Portsmouth to Newmarket mills and returned loaded with cotton cloth. When 24 years of age,  he married Miss Martha Harmon, who died in 1888; from this union five children were born: Mrs. Allen Flood of Spokane, William A. Brackett of Newmarket, N.H., George W. Brackett of Spokane, Wash., Mrs. Walter French of Epping. N. H., and Fred 0. Brackett of Andover, Mass., all of whom are living.

(Obituary printed April 10, 1910)

In 1838 he shi
pped on a sailing vessel for foreign shores, and was, also in St. John’s, Florida, at the time of the Seminole war, when Abraham Lincoln was a soldier. In 1840 he sailed for the East Indies, where he remained nine months, making boats.   From there he visited Porto Rico, Cuba, the coast of Africa, and the Straits of Belle Isle.  In 1849 he went to California to run a lighter off the coast.  He next returned to Newmarket and made a large boat called the “Mayflower,” and carried passengers to the Isles of Shoals.

The first President of the United States he voted for was Gen, Harrison, the grandfather of President Benjamin Harrison.  The last President he voted for was William Taft.  In 1861 he visited the British Isles, South America and Cape Verde islands.  Returning to Newmarket, he was for 8 years a watchman for the Newmarket Manufacturing Co.

Capt. Brackett says “I have fished on all our beautiful New England coasts, also fished from the old  Piscataqua bridge in the early days when the two taverns stood near there, the Nute end the Frink, which accommodated the passengers who traveled over the old turnpike between Portland and Boston. My first great grief was the loss of my dear wife on January 15, 1888”. 

Captain Brackett can read without the aid of his glasses, and his general health is very good.  He is quite deaf, otherwise his faculties are nearly perfect.  He goes about the farm of Mr. Ryan daily, and recently stowed away a load of hay in the barn.  He has been a staunch Republican since the formation of the party, and takes a great interest in all the affairs of the times.  Captain J

John Bracket died April 2, 1910 in Newmarket. 


1913 – CHARLES H. HARVEY  - 1915

“Charles H. Harvey, Newmarket’s Oldest citizen, quietly celebrated his 91st birthday at his home on Prescott Street among family and friends.  He was strong and went about daily walks around the village.” –Newmarket Advertiser, 9/7/1913.   Mr. Harvey was born 7 Sep 1822 in Nottingham to James and Hope (Morill) Harvey, in 1861 he married Saphrona Langley in Durham.  The 1900 census lists him at age 77, a widower, and living  in town with his daughter Anna, a school teacher.  He died 15 Mar 1915  from  “La Grippe” at age  92; he is buried at Riverside Cemetery.  

1915 – JOHN DREW – 1920

John Drew – there is no published information on a “John” Drew.   The reference is believed to be to an Oliver J. Drew, a farmer, born in Durham, and lived in Newmarket between 1870 and 1920.  Oliver married Elizabeth T. Rider in Feb 1854.  He died May 3, 1920 at age 91, a widower who lived with William Proctor on North Main Street in Newmarket.  William Proctor, himself, became a Boston Post Cane holder in 1960. 


Between 1920 and 1927 – CRYUS RAND –1927

Died -1927  Cyrus Rand – born  May 11, 1844 in Calais Maine, son of  Nathanial and Nancy (Lashore) Rand.  Cyrus died Jan 14, 1927 in Newmarket 183 Main St., he had been a resident for 60 yrs. He died of prostate cancer & pneumonia.

US Navy, a fireman aboard the USS Agawam during the Civil War.

Cryus R. Rand – enlisted 15 April 1863 at age 19 as a Fireman and coal heaver in the US Navy Regiment.  He was assigned to the USS  Agawam, and was discharged 14 April 1865, having served 1 Year, 11 Months and 29 Days aboard the same ship.  Born in Portsmouth, when he was 16 years old in 1860, he worked on the family farm in Rye.  At age 19 he went to Portland, Maine and enlisted in the US Navy.   

 (photo: Cyrus Rand in his G.A.R. uniform. Photo, New Market Historical Society)

At the war’s end he came to Newmarket and worked as a blacksmith.  On 16 Aug 1874 at age 36 he married Emma  (Mary Augustie) Meader in Newmarket.  The Town directory of 1872 lists him as a blacksmith living in a house on Central Street; the 1880 census lists their two sons Lewis & George, with Cyrus working in the Cotton Mill.  By the time of the Spanish American War, his wartime experience sent him to the Portsmouth Naval shipyard when he was employed as a blacksmith, and he was still smithing at the yard when he was age 65 in 1910. He died Jan 14, 1927 at about age 83. He remained active in Town affairs and the G.A.R. serving on many Town and Post boards.

The  Exeter Newsleter writing on the Spanish American War, published 13 May 1898

May 11 - There is one man in Newmarket who has a special interest in the victory of Commodore Dewey.  He is Cyrus R. Rand who served with him in The Rebellion on the Agawam, in 1864-1865. Mr. Rand says Commodore Dewey is a born fighter and one of the bravest men he ever saw.


LOST CANE & 1947 Preparations— from the Newmarket Advertiser:

“Old Timers Night” will be observed at the band concert Friday night, July 26th, 1947 when the oldest man and woman in Newmarket will ‘be presented a special award and members of the old Newmarket Cornet Band and Orchestra will be honored.  Many of these men who played here 15 and more years ago are now dead and there it will be a tribute to their memory.  Others who are still living in Newmarket are being invited as guests of the town for the evening.

John Kent of South Main Street who is 85 years old is thought to be the oldest man in Newmarket and unless some other man comes forward between now and the time of the band concert, a week from Friday night, Mr. Kent will receive the Boston Post gold headed cane.  A Boston representative will be here to make the presentation.

It is difficult to trace the origin of the cane in Newmarket.  It is known that the late John Drew ‘held it for’ a time and then it was passed on to Cyrus P. Rand of Durham Side. When Mr. Rand died the cane was placed on display in Matt Kennedy’s store, the grocery store now operated by Edward Marcotte.  It hung on the wall over Matt Kennedy’s desk for 15 years and when he died, the store was closed and the Kennedy sisters took the cane home.  Through the efforts of Milton A. Kimball it was located and the Kennedy sisters were very glad to hunt it up and offer it again to the oldest living Newmarket man.   It is now on exhibition in Mrs. Mildred Priest’s Clothing store.

The oldest woman will be a guest of the town and will receive some special gift. The name of Mrs. Ida Martin, known to towns-people as “Aunt Ida” is being considered for this honor.

The Dover band which opened the series of Newmarket concerts last week will again play under the direction of Alcide Bilodeau and will offer solo numbers.  These concerts, sponsored by the Town of Newmarket and the  Happy Workers  4-H club, are only  partially paid for from town funds and the 4-H club members are asking the support of  merchants and of those who attend.  A collection will be taken at each concert.  A partial list of sponsoring merchants was given last week and the following have contributed since that time: Arthur J, Turcotte,  Dr. Max Baker, Nick Bouras,  Rosina’s Beauty Parlor, Joseph Brisson,  Blanchette’s Bakery,  Edward Marcotte, and E. C. Griswold.

Mr. Kimball searched through old newspapers and records to find the following list of members of the old Newmarket Cornet Baud and Orchestra.  Many of these men have since died. The list includes: Joseph Green, Albert Edgerly, Joseph Warmsley, Harry  Briggs, Edgar Sevigney, Mr. Ellison, George Joy, Delbert Ellison, Clinton Ellison, John Labranch, Louis Hersom,  Grover Keniston, George Doe, Emanual St. Laurent, Napoleon St. Laurent, John Demers, Clarence Roe, and Joseph Martel.


1942 Florida Labonte, age 97, Oldest Newmarket Resident dies

Although the custom of passing the Boston Post Cane to women was instituted in 1930,  there is no report of her receiving the Cane .  She is included in this list because she was documented as being the oldest town resident  in her obituary dated Feb 5, 1942.  She moved to 8 Creighton Street for in 1922 from Taunton, Mass.  She was born in Canada 11 Oct 1845.  She leaves four daugthers:  Mrs. William LaBranch, Mrs. Joseph Guillemette of Newmarket; Mrs. Laura Goulette, Danielson, CT and Sister Josephine of the Order of the Sisters of Charity of Quebec City.  She also left two sons, Ardutar LaBonte of Quebec City, and Joseph LaBonte of Taunton, Mass.

1947 – JOHN E. KENT – 1952.

This town turned out nearly en masse tonight in tribute to ‘its two oldest residents, John E. Kent, 85, oldest man, and Mrs. Ida Martin, 89, the oldest woman in town, who were the guests of the citizens at the second in a  series of four band concerts at the Memorial band stand.

To Mr. Kent it was an especially eventful day.  Before being led to the bandstand, where the citizens paid him due homage, he was honored at another ceremony in his South Main Street home by the presentation of the Boston Post gold-headed, cane. He thus became the third holder of the cane since the custom was instituted.

In addition to the presentation of the Boston Post Cane, Mr.Kent and Mrs. Martin, who resides on Spring Street, were given special gifts by town Officials and representatives of the various civic organizations sponsoring the concerts.

Before honoring the two oldest citizens the entire audience, in an impressive scene in the hushed atmosphere of the local park, bowed their heads in prayer in a moment of silence before the band played taps in member of 4 members of the “Happy Workers 4-H Club who lost their lives in the last war.

In memory of the departed youths, members of the club have planted beautiful spruce trees around a public square in the town.  The square is cared for by other members of the organization.

In charge of the night’s program was Milton A. Kimball, leader of the 4-H Club.  He was assisted by Edmund Branch, Clifton J. Thompson, Richard A. Lumbert, Warren E. Philbrick, Albert D. Gilbert and Mrs Norman Cilley and Mrs. Ann Coolidge.

Fourteen selections were rendered by the American Woolen Company Band of Dover during the ceremonies.  Mr. Kent (age 85) received the cane from Newmarket Selectman Chairman F. Albert Sewall.  Mrs. Ida J. Martin (age 89) received her bouquet from Mrs. Meta G. Branch, chairman of the 4-H Club mothers’ committee

From his obiturary – John E. Kent (05/08/1861 – 07/23/1952)   NEWMARKET—This town’s oldest resident, John E. Kent, 91, who at the age of 80 drove in sulky race with a horse he had trained, died last night at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Marion Walker of Plains Rd., after a long illness.   Mr. Kent was born May 8, 1861 in Durham, son of Eben and Annie (Nute) Kent. He formerly owned a coal and grain business and operated a livery stable in Newmarket. He also had long been active in Newmarket municipal affairs, having held several elective offices.

Besides his daughter, he leaves two sons, Ralph Kent of Newmarket and George Kent of Wolfeboro; one sister, Mrs. Etta Dame of Newmarket; eight grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

After Mr. Kent’s death the cane was passed on to:

Between 1947 and 1957 CHAUNCY B. KENNISTON 1957

The 1921-1929 Town directory indicates that he was a “bobbin boy” laborer for the Newmarket Manufacturing Compnay.  He resided with his cousin John Leever on Ash Swamp Road.  By 1930 (at age 61) he and his cousin were working on area farms.

Fom his Obituary —  Chauncy B.Keniston,   Born 1869, died Jan 13, 1957.     Funeral services were held for Chauncy Burr Keniston, 89, this town’s oldest male resident,  on Monday at the Brown and Trottier Funeral Home.  The Rev. Wilfred Bunker, pastor of the Durham Community Church, conducted the service.  The body was placed in the receiving vault to await burial in the Spring in Newfields Cemetery.  Bearers were Harold Lang, Harrison Norton, William Barrett and Everett Norton.


1958 – ULYSSES C. SHERMAN – 1960

May 8, 1958, Mr. Sherman celebrated his 90th birthday anniversary at his home on Creighton Street.  Miss Rena Young, a neighbor, baked him a cake and Police Chief John Valliere and Selectman Nicholas Zuk called upon him and presented him with a gift from the town (Boston Post Cane).

From his Obituary – Ulysses C. Sherman, 91, of Colonial Road, one of the oldest residents pf this town, died yesterday at Exeter Hospital.  A native of Isleboro, Maine, he was born May 5, 1868, the son of the late Hudson and Jane (Berry) Sherman and had resided in Roslindale, Mass., for 25 years before moving to Newmarket 13 years ago.  Mr. Sherman  had been the New England representative for the Sequoit Silk Company of New York City, retiring in 1935. He was the oldest member of Prospect Lodge of Roslindale, being a mason for 60 years; and he was the holder of the golden-headed cane as one of the oldest male residents of Newmarket.

Besides his wife, Mrs. Cecilia (MacDonald) Sherman, survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Cyril Angeli of Needham Heights, Mass., and Robert of Bronxville, NY; four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.


1960 —WILLIAM H. PROCTOR  - 1961

From his obituray.  Funeral services were held Monday afternoon for Newmarket’s oldest male resident, William H. Proctor, 91, of 20 Chapel Street, who died Friday (March 3rd) at Exeter Hospital.  A native of Hope Maine, he was born August 4, 1869, the son of the late Gilbert and Elizabeth Proctor and had resided in Newmarket for the past fifty-seven years, coming here from Derry.  Mr. Proctor had been employed as a carpenter.

He was a member of the Independent Order of Redmen of Newmarket, a former member of the local fire department, the Derry Eagles, and the Derry Athletic Association.

Besides his widow, Mrs. Ethel M. (Jones) Proctor, survivors include a son, George Proctor of West Hollywood, FL; two step-sons Roger F. Shepard of Newmarket and Karl N. Shepard of Raymond; three daughters, Mrs. Myra E. Stevens of Hingham, MA, Mrs. Florence M. Hamlin of Durham, and Mrs. Ruth M. McKenna of Newmarket; nine grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren, and several nieces and Nephews.


1963—CHIEF JOHN A. GORDON – 1965

The Town of Newmarket paid tribute this week to its oldest male and female citizens, Andrew and Mrs. Florence Sargent, who are brother and sister.  At  an informal ceremony held at the Town Hall Tuesday evening, Mr. Gordon, 93 years of age, was presented the Boston Post Cane by Nick Zuk, chairman of the board of selectmen in the presence of selectmen George Hauschel and F. Albert Sewall.

Mr. Gordon was chief of police in Newmarket for 30 years before he retired in May of 1956 at  the age of 86 and was a regular member of the police force for many years before he was made chief.

Wednesday, a bouquet of flowers was delivered to Mrs. Sarent, 97 years of age as a symbol of recognition by the town.  Mrs. Sargent resides on Exeter Street, at the home of John Edgerly, Jr.  She was employed in the Newmarket mills until she retired many years ago. Since the practice of transmitting the cane to the oldest citizen originated, Mr. Gordon is believed to be the seventh holder of the cane.   In 1946, F. Albert Sewall presented the Boston Post Cane to John. E, Kent (the 3rd holder of the cane).  At the time of Mr. Kent’s death it was passed on to Chauncy Kenniston, then to Ulysses Sherman, and on to William Proctor who died at the age of 91 in March, 1961. 

From his obituray – John Andrew Gordon, 95, passed away July 14th, 1965  at the Fernald nursing home in Brentwood where he has been for the past week.  He was born in Newington December 13, 1869 the son of the late Henry and Sarah (Allard) Gordon and had resided in Newmarket for the past 84 years.   He was a member of the Newmarket Police Department for 62 years and served as Chief of Police for 30 years retiring in 1956.  He was the oldest resident of Newmarket and held the Boston Post Gold Headed Cane.  He was a member of St. Mary’s parish.  He is survived by three daughters, Miss Mary Gordon of Newmarket, Mrs. Magdalene Lee of Berlin, NH and Mrs. Katherine Rodrigues of Newmarket, seven grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 9 great-great grandchildren, two half brothers, John A. Edgerly of Boston and Fred Edgerly of Newmarket, several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services will be held from the Brisson and Kent Funeral Home at 8 am on Saturday, July 17th followed by a high Mass of requiem sat St. Mary’s Church at 9 am.  Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery.


Mrs. Kieltyka was presented Boston Post Cane at the Award night Banquet during the Town’s Bicentennial Celebration on  August 25th, 1977.

From her obituary — 19 Oct 1977  NEWMARKET — Mrs. Tekla Kieltyka, 94, of 239 South Main St. died  Tuesday at Wentworth Douglass Hospital after a short illness.  Born in Poland on Aug.
 19, 1883, she was the daughter of Daniel and Catherine Kazanowska Salwa and the widow of Joseph Kieltyka.

A resident here for 76 years, she was a member of St. Mary’s Church, the Polish Women’s Club and the American Citizen’s Club of Polish Descent. For many years she had been an employee of the Newmarket Manufacturing Co.    On Aug. 25 of this year, she was awarded the town’s Boston Post Cane.  Survivors include three daughters, Mrs. Mary Dynda of Poland and Mrs. John (Stephanie) Bogacz and Mrs. Joseph (Sophie) McGrath, both of Newmarket; two grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a sister, Mrs. Louise Rachel of Lowell, Mass.; several nieces and nephews.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.


Between 1977 and 1981 –CORDELIA (RONDEAU) BERGERON -  1981

Cordelia was born in Canada 12 Sep 1886, to Zepherin and Adeline (Martineau) Rondeau. and died Oct 1981 at Brentwood. She married Henry Bergeron on 25 Oct 1915 in Newmarket.

She immigrated to the US in 1899 and she was shortly thereafter naturalized.  She and her husband lived on Ham Street (1918 & 1930),  Packers Falls Rd (1921)  5 Bay R ( 1924),  and 5 Mount Pleasant Street in 1940 with their daughter June  (later Mrs. Louis Lambert of Dover.  Henry died November 1955 after a long illness. By 1963 she had moved to South Street.  Cordelia had a sister Fabiana LeBeuf of Pawtucket, R.I vvCordelia was a resident of Rockingham County Nursing home prior to her death  22 Oct 1981.

 (Photo: Severine Neal (left), and her sister Cordelia Bergeron)


1981 – 1983 – INEZ (FOWLES) CARPENTER died   at age 102, Documented Oldest Resident

 Although listed as “Newmarket’s oldest resident” in 1981 when she celebrated her 101st birthday there is no documentation that she received the Boston Post Cane from the town.  Mrs. Inez Louise Carpenter died 11Sep 1983 at the Rockingham County Nursing home at age 102.  Formerly a resident at 198 Main Street in Newmarket, she was born 12 Nov 1880 in North Whitefield, ME, the daughter of Albert F. and Annie L. (Hilton) Fowles.  She had been a resident of Newmarket since her marriage to Guy Carpenter in 1901, and since 1971 years was a resident at Brentwood.

She attended Newmarket Community Church and was a past member of the Newmarket Woman’s Club and Lamprey River Grange,  Survivors include a son, Royce Carpenter of Epping; a daughter, Mrs. Verye Mosian of Newmarket; four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren.  She was buried at Riverside Cemetery.  


1984 – ALPHONSE  TOURIGNY – 1986

From his obituary - Alphonse Tourigny, 93, of South Main Street, a well-known barber for many years, died Thursday, May 8, 1986 in Exeter Health Care after a brief illness.   Mr. Tourigny was born in Victoriaville, Que., and had resided the past 87 years in Newmarket. He was a communicant of St. Mary Church.    He owned and operated a barber shop in several locations in Newmarket for many years. He retired in 1974 after working at his home for several years.  Mr. Tourigny was a member for more than 50 years and held a life membership in the Lamprey Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Family members include his wife of 69 years, Mrs. Alice (Lefebvre) Tourigny; two sons, Edward W. Tourigny of Newmarket and Richard A. Tourigny of West Palm Beach, Fla.; a daughter, Mrs. Philip (Blanche) Blanchette of Dover; 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.  A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Saturday, May 10 in St. Mary Church. He is buried  in the Calvary Cemetery. 

In 1975 Alphonse and his wife Alice  held an interview about growing up in town and  working in the Newmarket Mills.  In 1976 it  was published  in the book Drowned Valley, the Piscataqua River Basin witten by John P. Adams, University of New England Press, Hanover, NH  (pages 91-93).


Elizabeth Mathes was presented the Boston Post Cane in September 1986 by Bill Sturtevant, administrator of Brentwood Nursing Home and Catherine Burgess, Newmarket Administrative Assistant.

From her obituary - Elizabeth A. Mathes, 102, formerly of Wadleigh Falls Road, died Feb. 5, 1991 at Rockingham Nursing Home, Brentwood, where she had resided for the past 16 years.

Born Sept. 10, 1888, in Epping, the daughter of John Q. and Sarah (McElroy) Warren, she lived in Newmarket for many years.  She was the oldest resident of Newmarket, and was the holder of the Boston Post Cane.  At the time of her death she was also the oldest resident at the Rockingham Home.

She was a member of the Newmarket Community Church. The widow of Ralph W. Mathes, who died in 1940, she was also predeceased by her daughter, Marion E. Mathes.  Her survivors include a son, Dana W. Mathes of Newmarket, and a niece. 


 1996 – NELLIE R. (KOLEGA) LIZAK –1999

Obit – 1999 – Nellie R. Lizak, 101, of Central Street, died Monday April 12, 1999, at the Rockingham Nursing Home, Brentwood.  Born April 27, 1897 in Korczynia, Poland, she was the daughter of John and Apolonia (Kolega) Ras.  At the age of 16, she came to the United States and lived in Newmarket for most of her life.  She was a weaver and worker at Newmarket Manufacturing Company, and at Sam Smith Shoe.

She was the oldest Newmarket resident and holder of the Boston Post Cane.  Ms. Lizak was a communicant of St. Mary’s Church; a member of  the  American Citizens Club of Polish Descent; and a member of the Newmarket Senior Citizens.  She loved to play bingo.

She was predeceased by her husband, John Lizak, who died in 1947; and a son, Walter Lizak, who died in 1991.

 2001 – CHARLES L. NORTON -2002

From the Newmarket Town Report, an “WHEREAS, The Town of Newmarket reserves such occasions to bestow custody of a copy of the Boston Post Cane upon the Town’s oldest and most worthy resident; and WHEREAS, Charles Norton was born in the Town of Newmarket on July 14, 1903. Son of Carl E. Norton, and Elsie M. French Norton; and WHEREAS, Charles Norton has been nominated to be the recipient of the Boston Post Cane in recognition of his distinguished age of ninety-seven years.

Given at the Dover Rehab & Living Center, this 17th day of January, in the year of our Lord, 2001.

Obit 2002 NEWMARKET — Charles L. Norton, 99, formerly of Packers Falls Road, died Oct. 24, 2002, at Dover Rehabilitation & Living Center. Arrangements will be announced by the Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home, Newmarket.


2003- EVA (DAIGLE) LABONTE – 2004

Presented August 20, 2003.

The Town Council chairman presented 100-year-old Eva Daigle Labonte the Boston Post Cane on Wednesday in recognition of her being the town’s oldest citizen.  Labonte, joined by a host of family members, received the cane from Brian Hart.  LaBonte, a native of Canada, first moved to Newmarket in 1934, the same year she married Arthur Labonte. While she has lived for the past 11 years in Boscawen at the Merrimack County Nursing Home, the conditions of the honor allowed her to be considered a Newmarket resident.

OBIT –2004—NEWMARKET - Eva Daigle Labonte, 100, formerly of 3 Exeter St., died Feb. 22, 2004, at Merrimack County Nursing Home, Boscawen, where she had resided for the past 11 years.

Born on Aug. 10, 1903, in Black Lake, Canada, she was the oldest of five daughters born to Larozo and Eva (Martineau) Daigle. She moved to Newmarket in 1934, the same year she married Arthur J. Labonte.  For more than 50 years, she worked in the local shoe industry. She worked as a packer at Sam Smith Shoe and Royce Shoe.

She was a faithful communicant of St. Mary’s Church and was a member of the Ladies of St. Ann.  Last August, she was recognized as being Newmarket’s oldest citizen, and was presented with the Boston Post Cane by the chairman of the Newmarket Town Council.

She was the widow of Arthur J. Labonte, who died in 1986. Survivors include her son, Donald Labonte of Canterbury; her daughter, Doris Bonner of Loudon; seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren. A memorial Mass was celebrated on Friday, May 28 from St.Mary’s Church, with burial in Calvary Cemetery.


2005 — ARNOLD AND DINA LARSON  [Arnold  died 2008 (age 103) and Dina died 2006 (age 101) in California]

 Newmarket residents between mid -1970s & 2005 when they moved to CA.

 (Dina and Arnold Larson of Newmarket were awarded the Boston Post Canes January 2005.  The Larsons, both 99 years old, have known each other for 88 years and have been married for 67 years. Photo by:   Seacoast online, Jay Reite)

Up until January 2005 the town maintaining the normal practice of awarding the cane to the oldest resident. Arnold and Dina Larson were born within 10 days of each other and will turn 100 in February 2005. The town strayed a bit from tradition and handed out matching Boston Post canes to the pair, recognizing them as Newmarket’s oldest residents and couple. (source: Foster’s 8-Jan-2005)

The following is taken from   Seacoast online —by Susan Nolan:

Arnold Larson was born Feb. 2, 1905. His wife, Dina, was born 10 days later. Next month they will celebrate their 100th birthdays, and last week the two received matching Boston Post Canes for being Newmarket’s oldest residents.  

“I’m Groundhog Day. She’s Lincoln’s Birthday,” said Arnold, looking distinguished in a sport coat during an interview at their daughter Barbara’s home on Bay Road in Newmarket.

Dina, wearing pearls and a sweater, still catches her husband’s eye. They first met at Riverside Park in Minneapolis when they were 12 years old. “I came along on my bike. I thought she looked pretty nice, and I haven’t changed my mind since,” Arnold said.

Although the bike didn’t make the biggest impression ever, Arnold was to have many other opportunities throughout their school years to catch Dina’s attention.  Take junior high, for instance. At a dance, Arnold finally got up the nerve to ask Dina out onto the floor. The boys were standing along one wall of the gym and the girls were lined up against the other when Arnold made his move.

It was Dina’s dazzling fashion sense that drew Arnold across the crowded room that enchanted evening. “He liked my pleated skirt,” Dina said.  Arnold stills remember that skirt today. “It was dark blue and brown and beige,” he said, “and she wore a Buster Brown collar.”  I fainted,” Dina said with a laugh, remembering the moment Arnold first asked her to dance. “No. I’m only teasing. I didn’t faint, but I felt like it,” she added. “Years ago, it was hard to get a dance.”

After high school, Dina went to work and Arnold went to college and then dental school at the University of Minnesota, located in Minneapolis.  The year after Arnold graduated from dental school the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. “Do I remember it?” Arnold said. “Horror, horror. People didn’t have money to have their teeth fixed. For four or five years, it was tough trying to pay the rent on my business.”

One day on his way to work, Arnold spotted Dina on the streetcar and asked her for a date. “I had some money in my pocket by then,” he said. He sprang for the movies at a cost of 25 cents. Dina and Arnold were married Jan. 2, 1937. It was a simple wedding, in a pastor’s office, with their parents present. “People didn’t have a lot of money in those days,” said Dina. The Larsons have known each other for 88 years, and have been married for 68.  Marriage has been easy, they both said. “I think you just click; that’s all,” said Dina. “I don’t think we worked hard at it. It just happened. We just naturally get along. There was nothing to try to figure out.”

Arnold said the two quarreled very little, but when they did, they buried the hatchet before sundown. “We never carried it over until the next day,” he said. “I think that’s a good secret for a successful marriage - just to be honest with each other,” he added. “That seems to be the most important thing we do.” As for the rest of life, the best advice Arnold said he can give is to be faithful: “Don’t let your friends down, and don’t let your family down.” Then, too, he added, diet is important: “Meat and potatoes and gravy - that’s it.”

Dina also played piano at the silent movies a time or two. “All I had to do was war tones - make a lot of noise with my left hand,” she said, laughing.  See, the Indians were coming in those days,” Arnold explained.  Arnold also had a dandy job in his youth. At age 13, he became the chauffeur for a doctor’s family. It was in the days before driver’s licenses were required, and Arnold chauffeured the family around Minneapolis for three years, giving up the job when he was 16. The car was a Nash, he said - the canvas-top variety.  Among other cars Arnold drove over the years was a Model T Ford. “Then I had some Chryslers, and I had a Hillman and a Mercedes,” he said. “We had a Ford when I was a youngster that we had to crank.”

Arnold recalled the night World War I ended. It was Nov. 11, 1918, and he joined the crowd in downtown Minneapolis. People were rushing into the five-and-dime stores buying anything they could get their hands on that would make noise,” he said. “They were buying saucepans - anything.” They also purchased lots of talcum powder and “shook it on everyone in the streets,” he added. “The streets were packed. Jammed. (The celebration) went well into the night.”

As for the Boston Post Cane award, Arnold said, “I think it’s awfully nice of them to do it.”

Obit- 2008 NEWMARKET -Dr. Arnold O. Larson, dentist, lifelong athlete and amateur artist, passed away in California on June 15, 2008 at the age of 103.   Born in Minneapolis, Minn., to Swedish immigrant parents, he attended Seward Elementary and South High School in Minneapolis, where he was class president, played baseball, sang in the glee club, and was a member of several clubs. At the University of Minnesota, he played baseball and was president of his dental school class.

Starting a dental practice during the Depression was tough, but eventually business improved enough to marry Dina, his high school sweetheart. During World War II, Arnold volunteered for the Navy. Stationed in San Diego and San Francisco, he was put in charge of crown and bridge work after recommending improved techniques. He also was one of three dentists on call for the San Francisco Conference that established the United Nations.

After the war, Arnold re-established his dental practice in Minneapolis, where he assumed an active leadership role in many dental societies and community organizations. He was president of the Citizens Club, Minneapolis District Dental Society, Psi Omega dental fraternity, and Dental Research Foundation, and founding president of Minnesota Academy of Restorative Dentistry and Midwest Denture Society. He also remained in the Naval reserve, finally retiring as captain.

Arnold and Dina were active and fun-loving throughout their lives. Arnold remained an avid golfer into his 90s; and painted and sculpted as well. Both enjoyed dancing and boating on Lake Minnetonka, and traveling in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S.

In 1971, Arnold retired and moved with Dina to San Diego, then North Carolina, and then Newmarket, to be closer to their daughter and her family. In 2005, the whole family moved to Pasadena, where Dina passed away in 2006 soon after celebrating her 101st birthday.   Arnold is lovingly remembered and survived by his daughter, Barbara Larson and his grandchildren, Orrin, Marlayna, and Adam Hecker.


In 2009 the town presented the Boston Post Cane to Marie Rose Thibault Langlois

Marie Rose Thibault Langlois was born in Quebec, Canada on June 17, 1909, the 8th child of Eugene Thibault and Lumina Lagenesse. Rose immigrated to the United States with her family around 1913 coming off the farms to work in the mills of New Hampshire and Maine hoping to make a better life. Rose had four brothers, and three sisters. The family lived in the New Village and worked in the weave shed, the large one floor mill, which was located between Main, Elm and Spring Street.

At the age of 14, Marie Rose’s mother died so she made the long journey by train to California as a novice to the Sisters of St. Joseph.  After a short time she returned to New England, working in Boston, MA and enjoying going to Fenway Park to watch her favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. Rose later returned to Newmarket to live with her sister Yvonne before marrying Ernest “Pete” Langlois on September 28, 1931. They had 5 children and lived on Central Street for almost 20 years, during which time Rose worked in Royce Shoe Shop as a fancy stitcher and Ernest had a barbershop on Central Street and worked in Sam Smith Shoe Shop. They resided on Elm Drive until moving to their own home in Lee, NH in the early 1970s after Ernest retired from the Macallen Company. After the death of her husband, Rose returned to Newmarket in 1998 to live with her daughter and son-in-law Lorraine and Richard Shelton.

Rose has been a member of Newmarket’s St. Mary’s parish for all these years. A 100th birthday celebration for Rose was held on June 14, 2009 at the Rockingham County Nursing Home in Brentwood, NH where she has resided since 2002. In attendance were 65 family members representing 5 generations. Rose continues to love taking walks, visiting with family members, watching the Red Sox, Tiger Woods winning golf tournaments and her weekly Sunday cribbage match with son-in-law Richard. Her motto for longevity has always been, “Use it or lose it”.

From her Obituary—Rose M. Langlois died on June 25, 2011 at the age of 102. She was well known for her accepting ways, friendliness, independence and good humor. She was a life-long member of St. Mary’s Parish and a member of the Ladies of St. Ann Solidarity.

Following her 100th birthday celebration, Rose was presented the Boston Post Cane in recognition of being the oldest citizen of Newmarket. When asked what advice she had for longevity, she responded “You either use it or lose it!” Playing her ritual Sunday cribbage game, she finally was dealt a perfect hand at the age of 101 1/2.

Rose was predeceased by her husband Ernest of 63 years in 1994, daughter Janice in 1955, sons Robert in 1982 and David in 2006. She is survived by daughter Lorraine and son-in-law Richard Shelton of Newmarket; daughter Anita Bennett of Northwood; daughter-in-laws Elaine Langlois of Dover and Diane Langlois of Newmarket; beloved granddaughter Lynda Elliott; seventeen other much loved grandchildren, twenty-eight great-grandchildren, ten great-great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Rose often said, “I resent nothing. I have always believed you have to accept life and that is what I have always done. I enjoyed myself. I really did.”

She is buried at Calvary Cemetery.

2011 -LUIDA (VARNEY) JONES - 2015

OCTOBER 5, 2011, –Chairman Richard LaBranche read the proclamation awarding Ms. Varney Jones, age 98,  a copy of the Boston Post Cane and an engraved plate bearing her name. Ms. Varney Jones was born in 1912, graduated from Newmarket High School in 1931, and joined the Navy in World War II. She and her husband returned to Newmarket in 1992, and she later became a resident of The Pines on Grant Road

A common question asked of every Boston Post Cane recipient is: “To what do you attribute your long life?”  “Good genes, that’s the whole thing,” Jones said. “Also we ate well, so I guess that helped. My father was in the meat business, so we had little steaks for breakfast.” Her father owned a meat and provisions shop at 138 Main St.

Luida was born at 6 a.m. at her home at 4 Railroad St., to Harry and Annie Varney. They had the first streetlight in town on their street. Growing up, her mother always told her that “she came in on the 6 o’clock train as it whistled under the bridge.”

Luida graduated from Newmarket High School in 1931, which was the first class to graduate in the current high school building.  After high school she worked at the Exeter Handkerchief Factory and held many jobs afterward. One of these was in Boston where she worked as a clerk at a department store.

On Feb. 10, 1944, Luida enlisted in the U.S. Navy. She served in the Navy for three years and four months and was told that she could possibly get a good job out of it.  “I just wanted to join. You didn’t have the opportunities you have now. I was Specialist Q in the Navy, that was Communications,” Luida said, showing her photo. “When you went in, you had to get a permanent. I had naturally curly hair, and they said to you ‘nope.’ You have to have a permanent.”

In June of 1947, Luida was discharged and offered a job at the National Security Agency (NSA). “I can’t tell you what I did,” she said mysteriously. “It was the best part of my life, being in the Navy and being in Washington. I loved it in Washington.” Luida met her future husband, William, in Washington, D.C. They married in 1952 and stayed in Washington and Louisville, Ky., before returning to Newmarket in 1992.   “When I came back I didn’t know anybody hardly,” Luida said. “And it had grown all these buildings.”

 (photo: of her father’s meat market on Main Street, 1910)

At a healthy 98, Luida remained sprightly. She conversed with a familiarity that puts you at ease and it’s apparent that she is well loved by the fellow residents of The Pines. She shows me the book she is reading: “The Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw. I ask what advice a town elder and member of the “Greatest Generation” can offer to a member of the New Lost Generation.

“Do you smoke?” she said.  “Yes,” I said. While she replied, “cut it out.”

From her Obituary — Luida E. Jones, 102, of 9 Grant Road, The Pines, died January 25, 2015 at The Pines, after a brief illness.  Born Dec. 19, 1912 in Newmarket she was one of five children of Harry and Annie (Buckley) Varney. She was a 1931 graduate of Newmarket High School. This was the first class to graduate from the then new Newmarket High School.

Luida was a member of the Newmarket Community Church.  She was predeceased by her husband of 51 years, William E. Jones who died in 2003. She is survived by 1 niece, Deborah Reed of Exeter; 5 great nieces & nephews and 11 great great nieces and nephews.  She was also predeceased by a brother John Varney and sisters, Estella Waugh, Doris Holt and Ruth Sharples.

Mrs. Jones is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Newmarket.



Evelyn (Rodier) LaBranche was presented with the Boston Post Cane by the Newmarket Town Council Chairman Phil Nazzaro on June 3rd, 2015 at a Town Hall ceremony.  In November of this year, Mrs. LaBranche will turn 102 years old. In part the town proclamation reads:

Born in Newmarket on November 13, 1913 to Ovias and Amy Rodier, the family lived at 13 New Road.  As a child Evelyn  attended St. Mary’s School in Newmarket.  At the early age of 17 she married Terry LaBranche of Newmarket who died after 60 years of marriage in December 1991.  Evelyn and Terry had two daughters , Eleanor who is a Sister of Holy Cross living in Manchester, N.H. and Lorraine Lapointe who lives at 9 New Road in Newmarket, N.H.   Evelyn has two grand-daughters, Michele Butler living in Cahoas, NY and Lisa Parsons living in Tilton, NH.  She has four great-grand children, two girls, Amy and Andrea Butler and two boys, Jack and Andrew Parsons. She is the very proud  great-grandmother of her fifth generation great-grand son, Ryan Jr. Lacasse and great grand-daughter, Emma Lacasse the children of Amy Lacasse of Clifton Park,N.Y.

Evelyn  worked several years for Galant’s Silk Mill as a “silk winder” later she was employed as a sample shoe  stitcher for Sam Smith and Royce Shoe Factories in Newmarket. Upon retirement, she worked part-time for Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home.

She had several interests throughout her life-time: her flower garden, making crafts of all kinds, cooking and entertaining guests. She was an active member of the local Senior Citizens Club, the Women’s Club, St. Mary’s Church Community and the Women’s Catholic Foresters of America. The later had a Junior Forester’s group of girls that Evelyn worked with planning their activities, taught them crafts and sang for nursing home residents.

She enjoyed her circle of friends with whom she joined on many overnight travel tours as well as day trips. She enjoyed belonging to a “Walking Club” which kept her walking three miles a day into her eighties.

She remains a very optimistic person with a great out-look on life. She loves people and needs to know what is going on around her.  She believes in the importance of family life, and takes much pride in knowing she is the matriarch of a living five generation family.  She remains connected to the extended family of nieces and nephews. Even though Evelyn is limited in sight and hearing she says; “I use what I have and that’s that, I’m not going to cry over it”.                      

In her early nineties, Evelyn Rodier LaBranche decided to give up driving. With her loss of hearing and eye sight her safety was at risk so she accepted to move to Holy Cross Health Center where the Sisters of Holy Cross welcome their mothers & relatives. She has been in residence there since 2009. 

Mrs. LaBanche died at age 102 on March 5, 2016 at the Holy Cross Health Care Center in Manchester.  She is buried at Calvary Cemetery.



All Published

Stone School Museum

The Stone School Museum, built in 1841, as a two-room schoolhouse, and now home to the New Market Historical Society, is located high upon Zion’s Hill on Granite Street.  Hours of operation are in our program of events and are on our web page and Facebook.  If you need further information, please call 603-659-3289 and leave a message or via email at Your inquiry will be returned as soon as possible.

Newmarket (Images of America) 

$17 for members, $19 for non-members

Books are available and can be purchased on line with PayPal—or contact us via email at

If shipped — add additional shipping & handling fee of $12 for 1st class mail  

 All proceeds from the sale of this book by the New Market Historical Society help with the preservation of our collection.

Support the Historical Society!

Become a member!
Please click here for more info.

or donate any amount

We greatly appreciate your membership and donations, and look forward to seeing you at our meetings and events.