Our story begins in the 1850s, Located in the hills just outside Lynchburg, Tennessee. A young boy, who had left home at an early age, arrived at a farm owned by a young preacher by the name of Dan Call. As well as a preacher, Call also had a side hustle, He owned a small Distillery, which was esteemed by all those who tasted the whisky from it.
During this time Jasper, the young boy, became mesmerized, with the distillery down the road, after some time begging his master. Call eventually agreed to show the young boy the Distillery. This is where he was introduced to Nathan Green, Also known as Uncle Nearest, A black man who was one of Call's slaves.
"Uncle Nearest is the best whisky maker that I know of" - Dan Call
Call had reportedly said to Green "I want jasper to become the best whisky distiller - if he wants to be, You help me teach him."
Green was only a few years older than Jack, he was known to play the fiddle and was a lively entertainer, traits which were said to be passed down to his son Jesse Green. He was married to Harriet Green and in total had 11 children together nine sons and two daughters.
Nathan Green had a special Charchol technique he had learned back home in West Africa, whilst cleaning water. This method became known as the Lincoln method and it's still used to this date.
Through the years Jasper became a natural entrepreneur and sold the whisky as near and as far as he could!
On December 6th, 1865 the thirteenth amendment was finally passed, allowing Uncle Nearest to become a free man! Not long after that, Jasper bought the distillery and named it after the name the locals had come to call him instead of Jasper, which was Jack and so Jack Daniel Distillery was born.
Jack asked Nathan to come work at the distillery as the master distiller, which Nathan accepted. He also immediately employed two of Green's sons, George & Eli Green. overall at least three of Uncle Nearest's sons, four of his grandsons, and seven straight generations have all worked at the Jack Daniel Distillery, in which three direct descendants still worked there as of November 2017.
In 2017 Uncle Nearest inc launched the Uncle Nearest Premium Whisky Brand, The first spirit named after an African-American. Their Distillery is located just down the road from The Jack Daniel Distillery, Keeping the close bond the pair had when they originally started this journey!
Whilst we can only imagine why Nathan "Uncle Nearest" Green's story was lost and forgotten for such a long time, we do know that it's a beautiful tale of friendship and the tale of The True Father of Tennessee Whisky.