This was written and published in---1896---
Hey Bobby , this is the article that I was telling you that mentions your ancestors (Issac Cox)---the first settlers of Nelson County.
BOONE BRO.'S DISTILLERY.
It is not my intention to overdo anyone's interest, and I am candid enough to confess my belief that, knowing me as the people of Kentucky do, they will credit what I say pertaining to this, as well as the other sketches which I am attempting to write, so that future generations may know the true facts as they actually happened. No one has given as much attention towards perpetuating the history of my county as I have. I have gathered my data from as reliable sources as was obtainable, and nothing will appear in this edition but what is known to me to be uncontorvertible, as far as it can be ascertained.
It was Daniel Boone who first gazed upon the broad and expansive fields of blue-grass that is celebrated the world over, and it was he who pronounced Knetucky the most beautiful land upon the globe. Boone's opinion is the opinion of the world to-day, and I defy anyone to prove the contrary. So it was that Wattie Boone, a near relative of Daniel Boone, and his friend Stephen Ritchie, were the first men to attempt to manufacture whisky in Kentucky. This was a long time ago. The first settlers of Nelson County were Issac Cox and about twenty-five others. This occured in 1775 on the waters of Cox's Creek. In 1776 Wattie Boone and Stephen Ritchie settled in this county.--Boone on Pottinger's Creek, where Knob Creek and Pottingers creek now empty into the Rolling Fork. They began making whisky about the same time. Ritchie, though was living come ten miles distant from Boone, up on the Beech Fork. In 1780 they both began the manufacture of whisky for sale in their respective locallties. In 1795 Wattie Boone enlarged his plant to two bushels capacity per day and did a thriving business. He took his son Charles Boone,, the grandfather of Mr. CHarles H. Boone, one of the propriertors of the prestent Boone & Bros distillery in as a partner ant the next year "Old Uncle Johnnie Boone" who before his death, was famous all over the section as a great distiller was admitted to a third interest. Uncle Johnnie was the second son of Wattie Boone. Stephen Ritchie stopped distilling for awhile, but the Boones hav never been out of the business since Uncle Wattie Boone first began to make it in 1780over one hundred and sixteen years ago. In 1830 George Boone son Charles Boone and father of the present Boones entered his father's distillery and was recognized as one of the very best distillers in the country. He, like his father and grandfather, made such good whiskey that the product was used entirely in Nelson and adjoining counties--It was too good to get far from home. George Robinson the maternal gradfather of Boone Bros. was a practical distiller, and made the fine whisky for over fifty years. He entered the business in 1810. So it will be seen that the present Boone Bros. ancestors both paternal and maternal were practical distillers and it is alos true that thier successors, Charles H. and Nicholas R. Boone are the only whiskey distillers in the State by that name.
I am now engaged in writing a history of the boyhood days of Abraham Lincoln and I find that Thomas Lincoln, who then lived at Hodgenville, some ten miles from Boone's distillery was in straightened circumstances and he appplied to John Boone. In 1814, for work in his distillery. Boone gave him employment and found him to be a first class hand. Thomas Lincoln Having moved his family which consisted of his wife, Nancy, Lincoln (Hanks) and son Abraham into a house about one mile from the distillery found it inconvient to go home to dinner and sometimes the supper, so it developed upon young Abraham to carry his father's meals to him.
The year before, Thomas Lincoln moved to Indiana young Abraham began assisting his father in the distillery and as Uncle Wattie used to say, "That boy is bound to make a grat man no matter what trade he follows and if he goes into the whisky business he will be the best distiller in the land. Of course where Lincoln located in Indiana there were no distilleries so Abraham was compelled to learn a new business. You all know the rest. Boone Bros. distillery is situated on the Bardstown and Loretto turnpike. The scenery along the road leading to the distillery is beautiful and the broad and expansive fields as you draw near their plant is peerfectly grand, especially to the eye of an artist. The warehouse is situated upon an elevation and the distillery near the head of a ravine. Large springs of fine free-stone water pour from the earth in abundant quantities, there being no less than ten never-falling springs within a few hundred yards of the distillery. The capacity of the house is 71 bushels of garin per day. The very best of grain is used in producing this fine whisky. The warehouses are iron-clad and has a capacity of 2,000 barrels. Their brands are the celebrated "Boone Bros." and "Old Maid".
Bettye Jo Boone wrote:
I know that some "one" here is laughing pretty good right now...but hell, I had to do it...or else they might think that it was part of the other article!
This story about Abe is talked about in a speech that Jere Beam wrote...If you look in earlier post you will find it...This same distillery has gone by many, many, names...the latest being Seagram's. It burned and ceased all operations there, in the early 70's...It's located in Athertonville, Ky.
For those folks here that know the area...31E Bardstown, Balltown, Culertown, New Haven, Athertonville, Knob Creek, White City, Ovensen Hieghts and Hodgenville...
I ride my bicycle by it (the old distillery) during the summer, on my way to Lincoln's boyhood home---The distillery is about 3 miles from my home and Lincoln's boyhood home (Knob Creek) is about 6 miles away...As of this past summer me and Therese knew that they were using it for making staves for barrels...but we got off of our bicycles and ventured inside ...Good God! it was full of a lot of Mexican worker's making whiskey barrels ...Needless to say we tracked right outta there ....