by Marilyn Rogers-Bull
BINGHAM — One evening last week Clarence Jones of Bingham was presented the Boston Post Cane at a surprise event at Thompson’s Restaurant, in Bingham. Clarence is now the oldest resident in Bingham at the age of 98. The cane was presented to him by Bingham selectmen, First selectman Steve Steward, Second selectman Julie Rihard, and Third selectman Gloria Jean Shaw. He was also presented with a pocket watch.
Clarence and his wife Dorothy Jones moved first from Flagstaff to Eustis (moving one of the houses from Flagstaff to Eustis with them when Flagstaff was flooded back in 1949.) They then moved to Bingham many years after that. Dorothy died several years ago and when Clarence’s eye sight failed in recent years, his son and daughter in law, Steve and Liz moved up to Bingham with him.
Clarence has two other sons, Tom and wife Insowa, who live in Farmington, and Larry and wife Stephine, who live in Limington.
Clarence has always been a hard worker but perhaps the one he enjoyed the most was working on the annual River Drive, he tells some very interesting events he was in on that job.
The above event when he received the honor of accepting the Boston Post Cane was a complete surprise for him.
For those of you who may not know that the recipient of the cane does not get to keep it in their possession these days, because so many of the canes were lost. The origin of the tradition: Back in 1909, the publisher of the Boston Post , a newspaper, forwarded to the Board of Selectmen in 700 towns (no cities included) in New England a gold-headed ebony cane with the request that it be presented with the compliments of the Boston Post to the oldest male citizen of the town.
The custom of the Boston Post Cane took hold in those towns lucky enough to have canes. As years went by some of the canes were lost, stolen, taken out of town and not returned to the selectmen or destroyed by accident.
In 1930, after considerable controversy, eligibility for the cane was opened to women as well.