John Robert Greene

Pastor FBC Hillsborough, 1911-1915
On November 27, 1910, Rev. Hocutt resigned as pastor “whereupon Rev J R Greene was called to begin his pastorate the 4th Sunday in January.  Salary to be $200 and the parsonage provided {if} he wished to live in it.”  Greene transferred his letter in July.  In November 1914, the church appointed a committee to investigate having a pastor one half time (two services per month rather than just one).  The committee asked for more time since they had not been able to talk to all members to get their opinion.  {Editor’s note: It appears the church did go to two services a month after Greene left and S. W. Oldham became pastor.}  At the same meeting, a resignation letter from Dr. J.S. Spurgeon as church clerk was read … and accepted with regret, “as the Church felt in the resignation of Dr. Spurgeon as clerk, the church has lost a most loyal servant in that capacity.” 1 While serving at Hillsborough, Greene was also preaching at Mars Hill, Bethel, and Berry’s Grove on alternate Sundays. 

An article written by Robert P. Walker in the Bible Recorder describes a revival he held at the church for nine days in November, 1911.  Thirty-two made professions of faith with eight joining the church.  Later fifty people came forward, many of them young people, one dedicating his life to the ministry.  Walker writes that “he is a strong young man and has a bright future”, but does not mention him by name.  He goes on to describe Greene as “doing excellent work in old Hillsboro, and the people love him.  He is a consecrated man and we expect great things of him.”  Walker closes by saying that it was in the Hillsboro church that he first attended Sunday School and heard his first sermon delivered by Dr. W L Wright (pastor, 1880-1885).  He goes on to say that he was ordained by the church and that it was good to see some of his old Sunday School teachers, Brethren Newman, Spurgeon, Jones and Smith.2 

Greene resigned from the Hillsborough Church in December 1915 to become minister of the Baptist Church at Jacksonville, Onslow County, NC.

Greene was born in a log house in Cherokee County, North Carolina, on September 1, 1877.  He weighed only four pounds at birth and had to be fed milk with a spoon, but survived because of his mother and aunt’s continuous care.  Mountain living soon nourished and strengthen his body.   He accepted Jesus at age 13 during a revival held at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, near Murphy.  At age 17, he was licensed by his church to preach.  His pastor, Colonel Ledford, advised him to get an education. There were no high schools in his area and he had to travel 100 miles to Clyde, NC to attend Haywood Institute that was built by the Clyde Baptist Church with support from the Southern Baptist State Convention.  He went on to attend Wake Forest graduating in 1907; he was 30 years old at the time.  While at Wake Forest he pastored the Berea Baptist Church in Durham County and on July 23, 1905 he was ordained by the Baptist Church in Clyde.3 After graduation, he returned to Clyde to serve as their pastor, but soon left to attend the seminary in Louisville, where he graduated in 1910.  From 1911 to his retirement in 1939, he served Baptist churches in Hillsborough, Jacksonville, Boiling Springs, Drexel, and Mebane.  While in Boiling Springs, he severed also on the faculty of the Boiling Springs Junior College which later became Gardner Webb College. During most of his ministry and after retirement, Greene lived in Chapel Hill, NC and was a member of the University Baptist Church.4,5

He married Elizabeth Andrews who was born on June 16, 1895.  They had two children, Mary and Phillip.  His wife died on May 18, 1964.  Greene died on December 18, 1969 at the age of 82.  They are buried in the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Orange County, NC.6

  1. Minutes of First Baptist Church Hillsborough, NC from November 19, 1853 to December 2, 1953.
  2. Nine Days at Hillsboro (February 7, 1912) Biblical Recorder, p.8, Retrieved at:
  3. J. R. Greene Ordained (August 16, 1905) Biblical Recorder, p.8, Retrieved at:
  4. Various Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention from 1912-1939. Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Presses of Edwards and Broughton, Raleigh, NC,  Accessed at:
  5. Seventy-five Years of Ministry (October 4, 1969) Biblical Recorder, p.14, Retrieved at:
  6. Find a Grave. Accessed at:  
Compiled by Reginald Carter, Historian, FBC Hillsborough
Last Updated: March 1, 2013