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Help with history? Maybe artifacts

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Hello and good evening all.


I come to you just seeking some advice and maybe asking a small favor.  I have nothing particular to offer in return so I’m hoping you interested in history as I am.


I’m really big into family, history, heritage, etc


I recently found out I’m descendant from the Shawhan family that began the short lived and somewhat well remembered Shawhan Whiskey.


I found this article talking about a lot of it: https://homepages.rootsweb.com/~shawhan/whiskey.html


Now my request for you: How best to get back in touch with this part of my heritage? Is it plausible to go do a bourbon tour of Kentucky/Missouri and perhaps visit some of the old Shawhan distilleries?

Do any of you have leads on shawhan whiskey branded bottles, items, or other artifacts I could purchase as an heirloom or artifact of sorts? I am seeking to preserve my family history for future generations to also enjoy if they so choose.  I may even attempt to distill some day. Thank you for your assistance and consideration.  Please let me know if anything about this post is improper and needs revised. Peace.

Edited by cadenjmccall
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According to Chester Zoeller's book, registered distillery #1 in the 6th District was owned and/or operated by various members of your family and the Megibben family until it was sold to the Whiskey Trust (see: moonshineuniversity.com/the-rise-fall-of-the-whiskey-trust/) in the 1890s and then closed. It says it was built in 1836 by Benjamin Brandon in Harrison County. According to the book, it last appears in Kentucky tax records in 1903. It mentions whiskey being sold under the brands Megibben, Shawan, and Edgewater throughout the distillery's life.


More in-depth research may help you identify where the actual distillery was, but there may not be anything there anymore or it may have been built over. Not many distilleries survived Prohibition and World War II. Some burned down, some were demolished, and some were abandoned to fall into disrepair.


This blog may have more information, but you would need to dig through it: pre-prowhiskeymen.blogspot.com/. Mike Veach is a (probably "the") leading American whiskey historian: bourbonveach.com.


There is actually a pretty good liquor store in Maryland with this name: shawanliquors.com. There is also an Edgewater Liquors in Maryland: edgewaterliquorsmaryland.com. Both of these stores carry good barrel picks of whiskey and I have been to both, but not sure of the origin of the names. These stores are what come up when you search this forum for those names. In the early days of this forum, there were very active dusty hunters who might have possessed pre-prohibition bottles of these brands, but sadly most of them no longer actively participate in this forum.


The page also describes a distillery in Bardstown being renamed Shawan and eventually sold to Jim Beam, who tore down the distillery but continued to use the warehouses. Essentially all functional warehouses in the area remain in use, so if they are still standing, Beam may still be aging whiskey in them.


I don't know much about the history of distilling in Missouri, but there is one long-standing whiskey distillery there: mccormickdistilling.com. This distillery has also been known as the Holladay distillery. Your linked webpage says: "George Henry moved quickly to maintain his distillery business despite the Lone Jack fire. He went to Weston, Missouri, in Platte County, and purchased the Holladay Distillery, which had been established there in 1856 by the brothers Major Ben Holladay and David Holladay." A picture on the page is captioned that this distillery was formerly a Shawan distillery. They filed a trademark application for OLD SHAWAN LONE JACK in 1998, but it never issued.

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