For 58 years Mr. Culver delivered the news on his bike…

Mr. Floyd CulverBy Bobbi Booker

On Tuesday, February 5, 2008, newspaper deliveryman Mr. Floyd Culver died. He was 100 years old, and the following interview was done on the eve of his century-old mark. Mr. Culver still possess the old bike he delivered papers on for nearly 60 years, but he now uses a sporty little mobility chair to get around in. I could almost see the wink in his eye when he first proposed to me and his charm gave me insight to why he’d been married thrice. Ironically, his first child wasn’t born until he was 50 years old, the age she now is. He was a treat to speak with, and his presence will be missed.

=Originally featured as a front page feature in the October 9, 2007 edition of

The PhiladelphiaTribune=

As door-to-door delivery from the iceman and the milkman were fading
into the past, newspaper deliveryman Floyd Culver maintained a
substantial route in South Philadelphia. For 58 years Culver rode his
custom-made bike throughout the region servicing homes, business and
both Graduate and Pennsylvania hospitals. So, when he retired from
his route five years ago, many of his customers were sadden but
understood that it was time for the 95-year old gentleman to rest his
bike. Although Culver agreed to give up his paper route, he still has
not only his bike (which he still rides occasionally) but also a
motorized chair to tool around in.

Today marks a century since Culver‘s birth in Alabama on October 9th,
1907. “I was born in a little town they call Headland, Al.,” recalled
Culver on the eve of his 100th birthday. “Born on a farm. Worked in
the field. Went to school four months a year. Finished 6th grade. My
mother took me out of school and I worked at a grocery store for 24
cents a day. That was in 1914, when I was only about 5 or 6 years old.
I rode a bicycle then.”

As a young man, Culver joined the Navy and was part of the World War
III invasion of Okinawa after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After his
tour of duty, his travels brought him to Philadelphia which has been
his home ever since.

It came as no surprise that Culver has married thrice, considering his
first words to the reporter after hello was, “Would you marry me?” As
charming as Culver is, he was a decidedly more business minded
individual. After his divorce from his third wife (with the legal
assistance of a young Leon Higgonbotten, Jr. Esq.) Culver attended the
William Penn Institute and earned his business degree in two years.
His first venture was a candy store at 18th and Bainbridge before he
realized another opportunity: newspaper delivery.

In his heyday, Culver sold upwards of 3,000 daily papers along a route
that spanned from Broad Street to 23rd Street and from Pine Street to
Washington Ave. In addition to selling The Philadelphia Tribune and
several other Black newspapers of the time, Culver also sold the
(now-defunct) Philadelphia Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The
Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. “At one
time I had three boys working for me,” said Culver. “That’s when I had
the route all the way down to Moore Street. I had the biggest route in
South Philly.”

At age 50, Culver welcomed his only child, Brenda J. Taylor (now 50
herself). “That’s my backbone,” he says of his daughter. He is also
grandparent to a grandson, Evan, and granddaughter, Nicole, both
residents of Atlanta, GA. He’s a devout reader of the Bible, and looks
forward to the rare visits he makes to Shiloh Baptist Church at 21st
and Christian Streets. As a person who has bore witness throughout the
20th Century, Culver has lived through incidents of inner-racial
disparity. “I went to the church at 16th and Christian one time and
sat on the wrong side of the church where the light skinned people sat
and the (usher) girl come moving me over where the dark people sat. I
said ‘I won’t go to this church no more.'”

He credits his good health to the healthy lifestyle he has maintained
for decades through diet and a regiment that includes 666(r) Cold
Preparation pills, castor oil and Epson salt. In 1940 he gave up red
meat. “The food that I ate at the time that I grew up had a lots to do
with my body because I don’t eat no pork and no beef,” said Culver. “I
eat a lot of green vegetables, fish, chicken and turkey. That’s the
way I go.”

When asked the secret to a long life, Culver replied, “Mind your own
business, stay clean and don’t try to harm nobody.”



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