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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    My family of Distiller\'s

    No novel here. ...

    Got ta thinking about the first time I asked "someone" that I talked to quite often...(through e-mail) to send me a picture...I wanted to see what they looked like...

    I talk about my family of Beam's all the time...Mainly in this section...So... here is a picture (see attachment) of all the "7 Son's" together...The one in the far left is my grandfather, Harry..

    I wanted to share this with the rest of ya...The picture was taken in front of the Old Jail in downtown Bardstown...Today it's the Jailer's Inn...It's located right beside the Talbott Tavern....

    During prohibition my great-grandfather and grandfather "dismantled a entire distillery" and hauled it down to Mexico...to make whiskey for Waterfill and Frazier...

    I don't know the exact date, when he came back to town...but he did not have a job...He ran for Jailer and won...He was unopposed during the second election...Thus, the reason for them being on the steps of the "Old Jail House in Bardstown...

    After prohibition, he moved to a big ole house right across from, My Old Kentucky Home...It burned to the ground, now the Parkview Motel and Kurtz's restaurant occupy the property...

    Bettye Jo
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    You could have just said, "Harry's the handsome one." After all, he is your grandfather.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    Chuck,

    Yes, he was a very handsome man ...I miss him dearly...I was the "Apple of his Eye".

    Bettye Jo

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    BettyJo, I've read in Michael Jackson's writings that the first Beam in America was an immigrant from Germany, the name having been Americanised from "Bohm" or a similar name.

    Is this true? Is anything known about the family before their arrival here? E.g., were they distillers or grain merchants or farmers in Germany? If it is true they had that ancestry, is it known where in Germany they originate?

    The original distillers seem mostly to have been either Scotch-Irish (bringing Celtic distillation pratices to America) or German-American (also familiar with distillation plus knowledge of rye grain).

    I have read of a Welsh strain too, e.g. concerning Jack Daniels and Ezra Brooks (the Welsh being Celts too in most instances).

    I find your historical notes most interesting always.

    Gary

  5. #5

    Re: My family of Distiller\'s


    By NOAH S. "SOGGY" SWEAT Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat Jr., a former Mississippi legislator and judge, delivered his famous "whiskey speech" in 1952 when the state Legislature was considering legalizing liquor:

    "My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be.

    "You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.

    "If when you say whiskey, you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation and despair and shame and helplessness and hopelessness - then certainly I am against it.

    "But if, when you say whiskey, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy and his happiness and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies and heartaches and sorrows; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our pitiful aged and infirm, to build highways and hospitals and schools - then certainly I am for it.

    "This is my stand, and I will not compromise."

    Soggy Sweat died in 1996

  6. #6
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    Amen. Great post!

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    Gary,

    I really don't have a lot of information on my folks "before" they came to America...I wish I did but I don't...I do well keepin up with my branch They were the most prolific (Chuck Cowdery quote) of all the Beams in Kentucky ...

    I am still learning "everyday"...

    I will make this as short and as condensed as possible...

    My folks (Jacob Beam) are of German decent...The actual record fo Jacob Beam (Johannes Jacob Beam) and his brother Conrad P. Beam (Boehm) were born in Bucks County Pennsylvania...Their parents (Nicholas Boehm and Margareth) moved to Maryland where Jacob Beam married Mary Ann Myers Sept. 20 1786...They had 12 children...nine sons and three daughters...

    It "was" spelled Boehm...when they first came here...beins the language difference and nobody here was gonna pronounce it right...They changed the spelling from Boehm to BEAM...Just like it sounds when ya say it (in Germany)...

    I have always been told that Jacob Beam made his way to Kentucky (from Maryland) with a "Pot Still" on his back and sold his first barrel of whiskey in 1795...

    The offical record that I have...He came to Kentucky in 1788 over the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap while Kentucky was part of the State of Virginia...He set up a grinding mill and sold his first barrel of whiskey in 1795...

    Bettye Jo

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    It has become a bit of a myth that "most" early distillers were Scots-Irish. That's one of Mike Veach's pet peeves and I tend to agree with him. There were regular Scots, Germans, Welsh, Dutch, English. In other words, every European country that had a whiskey-making or other grain-distilling tradition supplied some frontier distillers.

    Considering the early date for the Boehm family's migration from some German state (there was no "Germany" in the 18th century), I would guess they were religious refugees, probably Catholics.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    Hi Bettye Jo, great information, many thanks.

    All of us are from many strands and your note illuminates a key part of whiskey heritage in America.

    Best,

    Gary

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: My family of Distiller\'s

    I think most people who stress the role of Scots-Irish immigrants drew their information from Oscar Getz' pictorial history of whiskey put out in the mid-1970's. Michael Jackson repeats that information and expressly quotes Getz. I don't know where Getz got his information. Regular Scots would be (I assume) those who came to America directly from Scotland and not mediately from what is now Northern Ireland. Certainly the Scots-Irish were a key component of early American immigration and (not exclusively) associated with settlement in Western Pennsylvania and (what was) the frontier in general. I am no historian (of anything including whiskey) but I cite the well-known "Albion's Seed" which charted the major contribution made to American history by the Scotch-Irish including in the field of whiskey distillation. I welcome further information on the subject.

    I do find it striking that rye grain, known to Germanic peoples from time immemorial, was a key component of whiskey in Pennsylvania and that so many makers had Germanic names (Overholt, Guckenheim are just two). So that ancestry, for me, ties into whisky in America, in part. Whether Getz was right on the other part is something I do not know, but that has been said by others (e.g. Jackson, various websites, etc.).

    Gary

 

 

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