News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 27, 2013
Brooksville’s eldest resident cherishes the honor

Dorothy H. Noble is presented with the Boston Post cane

Brooksville Selectmen John Gray, Richard Bakeman and Darrell Fowler presented the Boston Post cane to Dorothy H. Noble, who, at 93, is the eldest resident in the town.

Photo by Rich Hewitt Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Rich Hewitt

The Boston Post cane was already 10 years old when the latest Brooksville recipient of the gold-topped relic was born.

The selectmen presented the cane in a brief ceremony last week to Dorothy H. Noble, who, at 93, is the town’s eldest resident. A Connecticut native, Noble moved to Maine 15 years ago to be closer to family, settling in Sedgwick first and then moving to Brooksville three years later.

“What a town this is,” she told the small group of residents who attended the ceremony at the town office on June 19. “It’s such a beautiful place. It’s a huge step up for me.”

First Selectman John Gray read the inscription on the certificate presented to Noble along with the cane noting that the gold-headed cane had first come to Brooksville and 430 other New England towns in 1909. Edwin A. Grozier, the publisher of the old Boston Post newspaper, presented the canes to the towns with the idea that they would be presented to the oldest male resident of each town. Gray noted that it wasn’t unit 1930—and after some controversy—that women became eligible to receive the cane.

Noble chatted informally about the honor of being the town’s oldest resident and said she appreciated being presented with the cane.

“This is so exciting,” she said. “It’s wonderful to have this.”

Asked how she has managed to live for 93 years and counting, she said she had no special secret.

“I was busy. I had three children and I volunteered a lot,” she said. “I didn’t pay too much attention to my health.”

She added that she has a wonderful local doctor.

“She keeps me going,” she said.

Although she was a mother and homemaker for much of her early married life, Nobel did work in the accounting department of Imprint Publications—which published several weekly papers in the area—for about 10 years. Although it was a small business, she recalled, the owner had been to Harvard Business School, so it was run like a big corporation.

“We had an annual meeting each year,” she said. “But we were so small, it was held at a local restaurant.”

Nowadays, she said, she tries to keep track of the comings and goings of her grandchildren, all of whom are active and, avid readers.

“They all get a book from me on their birthdays,” she said.

While the Boston Post cane often disappears until it is time to present it to its next recipient. Noble has no intention of hiding it away. She had planned a small get-together at her home for those who might like a look at the cane but weren’t able to attend the morning ceremony. And she was going to check with the selectmen to make sure it was all right to take the cane out at times.

“I’d like to take it out to some places for people who might like to see it,” she said.