April 28, 2017

Historical Preservation

Aside from the Nearest Green Memorial Park being built in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and the erection of a permanent memorial at Highview Cemetery, the task of preserving the historical significance of Nearest Green as the first African-American master distiller on record in the United States and the first master distiller for Jack Daniel Distillery, is the greatest immediate task of this foundation.

To that end, we are working with organizations like the Smithsonian (through their National Museum of African-American History and Culture) to create an exhibit which will include many of the original artifacts Nearest used when distilling whiskey.

Among those artifacts are the 2-ton millstone he and his sons used to mill the grain for the whiskey, an original Jack Daniel jug stencil uncovered near the original Jack Daniel Distillery site on the Dan Call Farm where Nearest worked, as well as what is believed to be one of the oldest known pipes preserved from the 19th century used for charcoal leaching (now, referred to as charcoal mellowing).

This unique and time-consuming craft, known as the Lincoln County Process (named after the county in which Nearest lived and worked), is required in order for a whiskey to be considered Tennessee Whiskey.

Many believe the Lincoln County Process was perfected (and possibly brought to the U.S.) by African-American slaves. And Nearest Green, without a doubt, helped to perfect the process distilleries like Jack Daniel and George Dickel continue to use to this day.