Workday Wednesday: Jesse Earl Green, another Maxwell House Man in My Family Tree

My paternal grandfather, Willie Taylor, wasn’t the only popular Maxwell House Man in my family tree. My great uncle Jesse Earl Green from Chappel Hill, Texas, with only a third grade education, went on to become the “first” African American Assistant Department Head of the Roast and Blend Division at Maxwell House!

Jesse Earl Green, Asst. Department Head of the Roast and Blend Division of General Foods Maxwell House Coffee in Houston, Texas

Uncle Jesse, the youngest of seven children was born December 29, 1911 to Lula Routt and Jim Green in Chappel Hill, Texas. He was just 18 years old when he left Chappel Hill in 1929 and came to Houston seeking employment and a better life. He worked odd jobs consistently until he was hired at Maxwell House as extra help in 1930. Once at Maxwell House, uncle Jesse was on the move! He quickly moved up the ranks as porter, coffee blender, sub roaster, regulator roaster and finally as special roaster where his special blend was a mixture of Brazilian and Colombian beans. His final promotion made Maxwell House history — he became the first African American Assistant Department Head of the Roast and Blend Division! He held this position until he retired in 1977.

Photo was taken at the Maxwell House Houston Plant, May 19, 1972

According to the inscription on the back of the photo above, everyone featured represents 244 years of service to Maxwell House. Standing (left to right) is Jesse Earl Green (42 yrs), Lillian Riddle (43 yrs), C.W. “Tex” Cook (30 yrs), Willie Taylor (42 yrs), Frank Lenich (32 yrs), and George Curtis (35 yrs).

“Green House Coffee”

My uncle worked for Maxwell House for forty-seven years! Can you imagine working for any company forty-seven years? People just don’t work jobs for long periods of time anymore. Heck, companies don’t maintain internal departments long enough for anyone to work that long anymore! Well, forty-seven years is a very long time and his colleagues often said they were blessed to have had someone of his character for forty-seven years of service. At uncle’s retirement gala, his gift from Maxwell House was a batch of coffee of his own special blend — Brazilian and Colombian beans — put into cans labeled “Green House Coffee” with a picture of him on the label wearing his trademark — red bow tie!

While working at Maxwell House, Uncle Jesse went on to earn his Doctorate in Theology from Southwestern Theological Seminary. This advanced degree enhanced his service and leadership as Senior Pastor of Blessed Hope Missionary Baptist Church, a church he organized in May of 1950 in Houston, Texas.

Uncle Jesse Earl Green passed away on March 21, 1998 and was laid to rest in the Golden Gate Cemetery, 8400 Hirsch Road, Houston, Texas  77016

If you have my great uncle Jesse Earl Green, a real Maxwell House legend in your family tree, let me hear from you because . . .
I’m claiming kin!


5 thoughts on “Workday Wednesday: Jesse Earl Green, another Maxwell House Man in My Family Tree

  1. Jesse is my grandfather. So proud to be apart of this family. He was a God fearing man that believed in always giving back. Thanks Cousin Marlive for your tireless efforts in your search for OUR FAMILY TREE. May God continue to Bless Our Family. Love you!


  2. What a feat! And with only a 3rd grade education. Wow! Forty seven yes. With one company….Heck companies become defunct, close up shop and are forgotten in that amount of time.


    • Nell, you got that right! Then when I think about how companies are structure today, I don’t think I want to work 47 years for them either — LOL!

      Thank you for allowing me to share Uncle Jesse with you. I appreciate your visit!


  3. Jessie Earl Greene may have had a third grade education he
    possessed the true education which is character and
    What an honor to have him inyour family tree, what a legacy he left behind. The blend of coffee beans that you mentioned. I wondered if that blend has remained on themarket. Very interesting and amazing inspirational story you have shared with us.


    • So true Shellye, so true! I am honored and proud of the legacy both my uncle Jesse and grandfather Willie left at Maxwell House. I honestly believe that company is all the better for having had them in their midst for 47 years!


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