|Born||Jasper Newton Daniel
September 5, 1850
|Died||October 10, 1911
|Known for||Jack Daniel's|
|Official Jack Daniel's website|
Jack was the youngest of ten children born to Calaway and Lucinda (née Cook) Daniel. Jack Daniel's paternal grandparents immigrated to America in the late 18th century. His grandfather Joseph "Job" Daniel was born in Wales, while his grandmother, Elizabeth Calaway, was born in Scotland. He was of Welsh, Scots-Irish and Scottish descent.
According to one source, he was born in January 1849. A town fire had destroyed the courthouse records, and conflicting dates on his and his mother's headstones have left his date of birth in question. His mother died shortly after his birth, most likely due to complications from the childbirth. On June 26, 1851, his father remarried and then had another three children with his stepmother Matilda Vanzant.
The company that now owns the distillery claims that it was first licensed in 1866. However, in the 2004 biography Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel author Peter Krass maintains that land and deed records show that the distillery was actually not founded until 1875.
Since Daniel never married and did not have any children, he took his favorite nephew, Lem Motlow, under his wing. Motlow had a head for numbers and was soon doing all the distillery's bookkeeping. In 1907, due to failing health, Daniel gave the distillery to his nephew.
Daniel died from blood poisoning at Lynchburg in 1911. The infection allegedly set up originally in a toe, which Daniel injured in kicking his safe in anger when he could not get it open early one morning at work — he always had trouble remembering the combination. This incident was the subject of a marketing poster used on the London Underground in January 2006, with the line "Moral: Never go to work early." A common joke that is told during the tour of the distillery is that all Jack had to do to cure his infection was to dip his toe in a glass of his own whiskey to clean it. His death was portrayed on Spike Television's 1000 Ways To Die.
- Krass, P., Blood and Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel, Wiley, April 29, 2004 (page 7 saying "after he was born in 1849", and page 19 saying "By the time Jack was born in January 1849, ...").
- Jack Daniel's official website, Brown-Forman Corporation.