LYNCHBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lynchburg, Tennessee has world-wide recognition as the birthplace of the famous Jack Daniel’s Whiskey more than 150 years ago.
But what’s lesser known, is the Dan Call Farm where Jasper “Jack” Daniel learned the craft from Rev. Dan Call and a slave named Nathan Green, also known as Uncle Nearest.
Call sold the farm to Daniel, who continued to make whiskey with Green before opening his own distillery.
“The townspeople of Lynchburg knew their relationship and that Nearest was responsible for making whiskey for Jack Daniel and teaching him how to make whiskey. But when Fawn Weaver arrived in the town of Lynchburg, so much more followed,” Victoria Eady Butler, great-great granddaughter of Green, told News 2 in an interview in Feb. 2023.
Weaver is an entrepreneur and author. She helped spread the story of Green’s legacy when she established the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey in 2017. Around that time, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Distillery also did more to share the story of Green and Daniel.
Now, this part of Tennessee’s Whiskey history is forever memorialized on a historical marker at the farm, which is owned by Keith and Fawn Weaver.
The marker 3G49 reads:
“Dan Call, Lutheran lay minister and a Confederate soldier housed a young Jasper “Jack” Daniel at this farm. Daniel learned the tasks and tricks of trade from Call’s enslaved distiller Nearest Green (born c. 1820). who Call described as “the best whiskey maker that I know”. When Daniel became a full partner in the distillery in 1866, and later established his own distillery in 1875, he hired three of Green’s sons, ensuring that the legacy of African American whiskey making would shape his product. Many generations of Green’s descendants continued to work for the distillery. Nearest Green is considered the first known African American master distiller of Tennessee Whiskey.”
Not mentioned in the marker is the technique Green used that gives Tennessee Whiskey it’s unique flavor.
“He put one more ingredient, and he filtered his whiskey through sugar maple charcoal, which is called the Lincoln County process. So, Nearest was making whiskey for a minister over in Lincoln County,” said Jason Morgan, tour guide and bourbon buff at the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
Nearest Green Distillery hosted an unveiling ceremony that took place on April 14. The marker now stands at the entrance of the farm, not far from the freshwater spring which is known as the original source for Jack Daniel’s Whiskey.
The historical marker was born out of the collaborative efforts between Nearest Green Distillery and the Trust for Public Land (TPL), in which Keith Weaver serves as the chair for TPL’s Black History and Culture Advisory Council.
TPL has been working to preserve nearly 60 spaces that are related to Black history and culture. According to TPL, only 3% of nearly 100,000 historical places tell the stories of Black Americans.
“We have an enormous opportunity to expand the field of Black historic preservation, moving beyond the stereotypical narratives rooted in racism, slavery, and pain to tell a more complete history that highlights the resistance, self-determination, and joy of African Americans,” said Dr. Jocelyn Imani, TPL’s national director of Black history and culture in a news release.
Another historical site that TPL hopes to preserve is the Stringer’s Ridge Cemetery located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.