Looking Back: The Shepherd of Danville

Published 6:05 pm Friday, March 13, 2020


The Rev. Dr. Edward Melvin Green, known as the “Shepherd of Danville” and “pastor to the town,” served as minister at The Presbyterian Church on West Main Street for 45 years and five more years as pastor emeritus.

He also served as clerk of the Presbytery and held a place of leadership in the Presbyterian denomination. While in Danville, Rev. Green and his wife, a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, organized the E.M. Green Chapter, Children of the Confederacy.

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South Carolina native


Born in Darlington, South Carolina, on Sept. 10, 1838, he was a son of James and Sarah Ann Jumes Green.

Rev. Green earned a bachelor of arts degree from Oglethorpe University in 1859. He attended Columbia Theological Seminary until 1863, and was licensed to preach in May 1862. He was ordained two years later by Cherokee Presbytery in North Carolina.

Between 1863-1865, Green served as chaplain with troops of the Confederate States of America. His brother, B.W. Green was a general in the Confederate Army. At one time Rev. Green was one of two oldest Confederate veterans living in Danville.

After the war he served five years as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Washington, Georgia.

He returned to Columbia Theological Institute as its financial agent, and worked as editor of the Southern Presbyterian. He resigned his position and served for three years as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in North Carolina before coming to Danville as pastor.

While at Columbia Institute, he and Sarah Emily Howe, were married. They lived in the manse on South Third Street and later on Maple Avenue. Sarah died in 1890, six years after her husband obtained his Doctor of Divinity degree from Southwestern Presbyterian University in Memphis, Tennessee.

Rev. Green was married the second time in 1896, to Frances Wallace Anderson of Atlanta, Georgia. She died in 1927.

Rev. Green was moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. at its 1898 meeting. From 1881 to 1919, he was clerk of the Transylvania Presbytery.


Rev. Green died Sept. 21, 1927, 11 days after his 89th birthday. He is buried in Bellevue Cemetery. He had three children, George H., Edmond M. Green, a physician, and a daughter, Marian P.

“From his pulpit issued always the pure gospel with no uncertain sound. As administrator of church ordinances he was unexcelled. Ceremonies at the communion table, the baptismal font, the marriage altar and the silent grave, become holier still under his magic hand,” according to an article in The Advocate.

Dr. Charles R. Hemphil of Louisville preached the funeral and said Rev. Green was a minister, shepherd, pastor, citizen and paid many beautiful tributes to Rev. Green who  was known all over the Southland for his greatness as a man and a minister of the Gospel.

Two years after Rev. Green’s death, the Auxiliary at First Presbyterian, hosted a memorial in December 1929 giving a tribute of appreciation of the love and veneration in which the memory of Green was held.

Tall white candles were emblems of Green’s long life of devoted service to his work. “In honoring him, we are happy in bringing even a little Christmas cheer to some of the faithful servants of God,” said Mrs. Henry Jackson, executive secretary of the Ministerial Relief.