Hunt for Topsham elder ends with 104-year-old

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TOPSHAM — Ruth Mann was 5 years old when Boston Post Canes were first distributed to New England communities.

That was in 1909.

Now 104 years and 6 months from her birthday, Mann on Wednesday became the latest Topsham resident honored with the cane that recognizes Topsham’s oldest resident. Selectmen Ron Riendeau and Sandra Consolini, Town Clerk Ruth Lyons and Town Manager Jim Ashe brought the cane and a commemorative plaque to Mann’s residence at Amenity Manor on Elm Street.

Amenity Manor social worker Lauren Richardson said she had read about Lyons’ search for Topsham’s oldest resident in the March 13 edition of The Forecaster. She contacted the newspaper March 18 with word about Mann, and was directed to Lyons.

Born in Waldoboro, Mann married Darrell Leland Mann in 1926, and the couple served as keepers of the Two Bush lighthouse off Tenant’s Harbor, a white square tower standing 42 feet tall. They also were keepers of the 42-foot Great Duck Island lighthouse off Cranberry Isles during their six-decade marriage.

Mann, who has lived in Topsham since 1999, has 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. The staff at Amenity describe her as a spitfire, an independent woman who has enjoyed weaving afghans, doing embroidery and cooking lobsters.

Topsham is one of the few communities still in possession of its original Boston Post Cane, thanks largely to the cane being kept at Town Hall since 1991.

Prior to Mann, the oldest resident to be recognized was 101-year-old Gretchen Knight, who lived at the Highlands before moving to Florida. Since Knight is no longer a Topsham resident, Lyons felt the time was right to pass the honor on.

“I think it’s great,” Lyons said during Wednesday’s event. “I’m pleased to be part of it.”

The cane, along with a photo of Mann, will be featured in a display cabinet along with other historical memorabilia in the new Topsham Municipal Building.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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DSC03113.JPGRuth Mann, 104, became the latest Topsham resident to be honored with the Boston Post Cane on Wednesday. Surrounding her at Amenity Manor are Town Clerk Ruth Lyons, left, Selectman Sandra Consolini, Town Manager Jim Ashe and Selectman Ron Riendeau. (Lear photo)

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.