First Baptist Church of Goldsboro was founded by Charles J. Nelson in 1843 in Waynesborough, the county seat of Wayne County. Services were held in the Free Meeting Hall, built by Nelson. In 1847, Waynesborough moved east to the Weldon-Wilmington Railroad and incorporated as Goldsborough, named in honor of the railroad engineer Matthew T. Goldsborough.
In the new town, First Baptist Church met for worship at the Academy, a school established by Rev. William Robinson, who served as the third pastor. In 1858, Charles J. Nelson was chair of the committee that built a white farm church on lot #55 of the Plan of Goldsboro (where the Education Building now stands). The 40' x 60' building had a 60' steeple for 25 years. The church bell, the oldest in the city, was moved to the new sanctuary in 1912 and is still in use today.
In 1885 Major Hiram L. Grant, a church member and brick factory owner, gave enough brick to Mr. Harding, a contractor, to build a bell tower at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, in exchange for the brick. Mr. Harding built a 20' x 48' addition to
Charles J. Nelson, Founder (1815-1899)
the south side of the church to be used by Mrs. Grant's Sunday School Primary Department.
In 1912, L. E. Peterson was chair of the committee that built the new brick church. W. J. Matthews, a church member, was the builder, and Rev. Watkins, the 27th pastor, laid the first brick.
After purchasing three adjoining properties that became available, Pastor E. Leon Smith led the congregation in the largest building expansion in the history of the church. The new addition included a ground level Fellowship Hall with a Grade A Kitchen, Conference Room, Library, Garden, Music Room, Pastor's Study, offices, restrooms, gymnasium, covered walkway, and playground.
T. A. Loving Company was the builder, Lola Delibridge was Building Chair, and Joe James was Director of the two phases of fund raising: "Together We Build" and "Debt No More in Eighty-Four."