Edwin Ellington

Edwin Ellington

Edwin Ellington might be the oldest living ‘paper boy’ who delivered newspapers for The Daily Independent.

Ellington, who will turn 99 on March 6 of 2020, currently lives in North Carolina. He delivered the local newspaper in 1936 and ’37, and brought The Independent to doorsteps in the Westwood area. A winning prize for selling encyclopedias provided him with a new bicycle, which he used on his route.

Ellington grew up in the Ashland area, and he said that he and his late wife, Marie Hilton Ellington, had never lived anywhere else until he retired. He was about 15 when he delivered papers, but he went on to graduate from Ashland High School in 1939, and then he finished Junior College. When World War II started, Ellington served his country with distinction as part of the Army 83rd Division. Upon his return he went to work for Armco Steel, not retiring until he had amassed 40 years of continuous service in 1982.

“I spent my entire career there at Armco,” Ellington said.

Ellington built his own home in Bellefonte and served two terms on the Bellefonte City Council. He has a lot of fond memories of his life in the area, he said.

“I had the pleasure of working under William Verity,” Ellington said. “He was the nicest person I have ever known.”

Ellington said he also cherished his friendship with George Wolfford (of the Daily Independent) as well as many other people he said he was fortunate enough to have known.

Some of Ellington’s fondest memories, he says, involve the Independent. He said he remembers the man who brought the papers to him for Westwood, with the Independent logo on the truck.

“The price of the paper then was 20 cents weekly, and about 7 cents of that was profit,” Ellington remembered. “I had about 150 customers, and I delivered to Westwood and part of Fairview.”

Ellington said he truly enjoyed being one of the earliest members of a Public Speakers organization known as Post Master, and even went on to become president for a time.

“We met at The Henry Clay one time a week, and I enjoyed it. I was part of that for 4 or 5 years.”

Once he retired, Ellington pastored a small church outside of Louisa.

“It’s no longer there,” Ellington said. “but it had been standing for around 100 years. We had about 30 members when I was pastor.”

Today the 98 year-old resides in North Carolina at an assisted living community; and though he might no longer be pedaling his bicycle to deliver the Independent door to door, he tries to stay as active as possible.

“I walk around the campus here,” Ellington said. “It takes about 20 minutes, and I do that twice a day.”

Whether or not Ellington is the oldest living person who delivered the Daily Independent might be difficult (if not impossible) to determine with 100 percent certainty. But what is clear is that he was part of the area community from an early age, and contributed to that community in a host of wonderful ways.

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