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Jack Daniel's in Chattanooga, Tennessee


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#1 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:25 AM

Jess Motlow was Lem's younger brother and died in 1957. What got me interested in the Jack Daniel/Chattanooga, TN connection was reading Jess Motlow's obituary in the local newspaper from 1957. It said Jess worked with his Uncle Jack Daniel in Chattanooga. After much research, I found that before 1910, Lem Motlow had a chain of saloons in several towns in Alabama and a wholesale liquor house in Chattanooga. I believe Jess and his brother-in-law, John Tolley, worked in this wholesale liquor house and sold Jack Daniel whiskey to local distributors, saloons, and whiskey dealers. Jess worked in Chattanooga until 1911, when his uncle Jack brought him back to Lynchburg to be his "Head Distiller".

Here is Jess's obituary.

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#2 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:34 AM

One of the local distributors in Chattanooga was Elijah Roach (E. R.) Betterton in the 1890's. Betterton owned a bar and purchased Jack Daniel whiskey from Jess Motlow. He then established the "White Oak Distillery" in 1895 and employed Jess for a short while.

Here is a letter Jess wrote to his younger brother Felix in 1899 on the "White Oak Distillery" stationary.

He signs it, "your Brother, J. B. (Jesse Butler) Motlow.

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#3 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:38 AM

Here is a shot glass from the "White Oak Distillery" in Chattanooga.

You cannot read it, but the bottom of the shot glass says "Chattanooga, Tennessee".

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#4 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:40 AM

An amber E. R. Betterton 1/2 pint bottle.

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#5 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:49 AM

Another local distributor was J. W. Kelly. He owned the "Deep Springs Distillery" in Chattanooga from the late 1880's to around 1915. I also believe he bought Jack Daniel whiskey from Jess Motlow and sold it as "Deep Spring Lincoln County Tennessee Whiskey, the Standard of Excellence".

Here is an ad from a 1911 Texas newspaper (San Antonio Express) advertising the Tennessee Whiskey.

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#6 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:52 AM

A quart, amber "Deep Springs" whiskey bottle.

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#7 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:56 AM

A pint, amber J. W. Kelly whiskey bottle.

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#8 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:59 AM

A very nice, clear J. W. Kelly whiskey bottle.

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#9 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 01:06 AM

E. B. Gibson also sold whiskey in Chattanooga from 1903-1915. He did not own a distillery. I also believe he bought Jack Daniel Whiskey from Jess and sold it under his name. E. B. Gibson was listed as a wholesaler and Distiller's Agent.

Here is a shot glass by E. B. Gibson from approximately 1905. He also advertised as "The Moccasin Club".

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#10 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 01:20 AM

Here is a list of distributors, saloon owners, and whiskey dealers in the Chattanooga area from the late 1890's-early 1900's. I believe all of these could have bought Jack Daniel Whiskey from Jess Motlow at Lem's wholesale liquor house and sold it under their name.

R. H. Cate & Co. 1909-1911 - He sold "Sour Mash Whiskey" and "Belle of Jefferson Whiskey".

Fletch M. Catron 1904

C. D. Cheatham Liquor Dealer 1908-1915

"Gold Eagle Corn Whiskey", Chattanooga Distributing Company 1903-1915

Will Lea & Co. 1908-1909

"Madden's White Oak Special Whiskey" (No one knows who Madden was). It was owned by Tolley, Betterton of Chattanooga. John Tolley was married to Lem and Jess's younger sister Lilliam. He was employed by Lem Motlow.

"Old Tennessee Club Lincoln County Whiskey" Chattanooga, Tennessee 1903-1915.

Star Liquor Company, Chattanooga 1909-1915.


I have yet to find a bottle or shot glass from any of these distributors. I am desperately looking.

#11 MikeandJack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 01:28 AM

As most of you know, Jack Daniel and Lem Motlow gave W.T. and C.D. Gunter exclusive rights to sell their whiskey under the Jack Daniel's name. Gunter sold most of this in Nashville and Shelbyville, Tennessee. Small, local distributors, saloon owners, and whiskey agents could buy and sell Jack Daniel's whiskey, but could not use the Jack Daniel name. That is why I believe these small dealers in Chattanooga, Tennessee bought and sold Jack Daniel Whiskey.

Hope everyone enjoyed this history lesson. Be sure to take notes, there will be a test later! ;D/> ;D/>

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#12 Rob

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 05:34 AM

Thanks Mike, I just love this kind of history, it paints a much broader picture for us all, and is invaluable knowledge! ;D/>

#13 tokboy

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:04 AM

Wow, Mike, that is one great history lesson :)/>

#14 colin

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:35 AM

thanks Mike another great lesson

#15 OldOak

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 07:39 AM

Thanks Mike, always a pleasure to read your history stuff.

#16 Bavarianjack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 07:46 AM

This is a great history lesson!!! Mike, thanks for sharing with us ;)/>

#17 germanjack

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:37 AM

Such a great history lesson Mike.
Thanks so much for teaching!!
I love this thread!!

Anderas

#18 OlliP

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:56 AM

thanks Mike another great lesson


:K)/>

#19 pearson23sailor

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 11:06 AM

Invaluable information and great pics too! Thanks Mike!

#20 Ade

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 11:46 AM

Excellent history lesson and supported by so well by examples of the different bottles and shots.

Looking forward to the next history lesson. :)/>




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