Did you know that one of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey’s mottoes, “Never go to work early” was inspired by the death of founder Jack Daniel, who died after he kicked a safe he couldn’t open early one morning and developed an infection in his toe
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.