Mystery Baton/Cane/Walking Stick and Derby Hat from York County
Does anyone know what H&B could stand for on this cane? Last Saturday a gentleman brought it into the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives to see if he could figure it out, perhaps by finding an organization with those initials.
The wooden walking stick belonged to his grandfather, Chester Brenneman, who was born in 1905 and passed away in the 1994. As a young man Chester lived and worked on his father’s farm in the Violet Hill area of York Township, just south of York. For most of his adult life he worked for the York Water Company. He and his family lived near Wisehaven, east of Longstown on the East Prospect Road.
The family story is that Brenneman belonged to a group and used the walking stick and derby hat for occasions such as parades. The hat, still in its original box, came from Walker’s in York. That doesn’t help a lot in dating it, because Walker’s was in the men’s clothing business for many years. The thumbtack attaching the ribbons looks like a circa 1950s thumbtack. Since the ribbons on the cane are red, white and blue, maybe there was a patriotic connection to the organization?
My first thought was a fraternal organization like I.O.O.F (Independent Order of Odd Fellows), F.O.E. (Fraternal Order of Eagles), P.O.S.A. (Patriotic Order Sons of America) or some of the many others that flourished during the late 19th and the 20th centuries. A random search of York city directories, as well as files and books on secret and public societies, didn’t turn up a match.
York County residents have always loved a parade. Besides various societies, fire companies, political parties, and factory employees would march in groups or build floats to enter parades. We couldn’t think of any of those that fit with H&B either.
I did some online searching, but didn’t find anything promising. Since there should be a lot of people still around that could have belonged to, or at least known of, this group, perhaps one of you can help solve the mystery.