From the assistant editor

Cane upon a midnight here

Wed, 01/05/2022 - 8:45am

Early Monday, I was online looking up early 2000s Alna politics for a story on some new Alna politics, the latest petition, and Safari offered me a site that, from what I have found so far, has little if anything on Alna; maybe another town’s entries on the site tell of an Alna connection. Either way, I had not been looking up canes, Boston Post’s famous ones or otherwise, but there was

I recommend it if you like Midcoast and Maine history. Many entries come from newspaper articles on recipients of the cane or a replica for being the oldest resident. Phil Di Vece’s 2016 Wiscasset Newspaper piece on Woolwich cane recipient Alice Bond states: “According to Mrs. Bond, her husband was descended from one of three Burnham brothers who immigrated to Maine from Bristol, England on the ship Angel Gabriel. The ship landed in what’s now Bristol, Maine in the 1600s and sank off Pemaquid Peninsula in a hurricane.”

History buffs will appreciate the long lists of entries for some towns, like Cornish’s list that includes photos of cane recipients from the 1920s through 2017. Century-old photos like these reveal how different but similar life is over time. Alna and Westport Island’s fellow Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12 member Windsor was not so lucky. Its lone, 2016 entry states: “Windsor reportedly lost its cane in a house fire circa 1938-1940.”

Some area towns are not listed. We have reported over the years on Westport Island’s zeal for its history, and last year Gaye Wagner shared with us her wonderful photo of selectmen delivering the cane and flowers to Elizabeth Monfort. So I was a little surprised Westport Island was not listed. Here’s your chance, Friends of Westport Island History: The site announced last May it was getting going again after a few years off. And there is a section on submitting entries; so go for it, if you have not already.

The same goes for Alna, another town that preserves its history. I do not recall writing or reading any stories on its having a Boston Post cane, and so far I have asked town archivist Doreen Conboy and past selectman Chris Cooper, who both know a lot of Alna’s history. Neither knew of an Alna Boston Post cane, although Cooper said he half-remembered “an old story of some old person having it, but it didn’t resurface after he or she died.” Both suggested asking past selectman David Abbott if he knows of Alna having one of the canes. I have just emailed him; can try some other longtime citizens also; and will keep you “Post-ed.”

Week’s positive parting thought: When you go looking for something, if you have time, pause to study what else you find along the way.