Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sixty Years of Roth & Co — Sans Roth


                       

Roth & Company of San Francisco, founded in 1859 by Joseph Roth, survived for sixty years but Roth himself did not.  So potent was his reputation among California liquor houses that his successors maintained his name until shut down by National Prohibition in 1919.  

Roth was an immigrant from Germany who arrived in San Francisco at an early date in its history.   Starting overnight as the base for the Gold Rush of 1849, the city quickly became the largest and most important population, commercial, naval, and financial center in the American West.  Roth was quick to recognize the potential for wholesaling whiskey in a town teeming with saloons and other “watering holes.”

Roth’s whiskey business originated about 1859, growing along with San Francisco’s development.  His first recorded address was 805-809 Montgomery Street in the Old Court House building, across from Pioneer Hall which was an early library and meeting place, insuring considerable pedestrian traffic in the area.  After a few years operating on his own, in 1867 Roth took Henry Videau as a partner.

Roth had made an interesting choice.  Later known as the “Prince of Restauranteurs,” Videau, born in 1823, had immigrated from France in 1849, drawn by the lust for gold, settling initially in Marysville, California.  By 1853 he was married and running a hotel there and later a restaurant.  By 1866 he was recorded as president of the Jefferson Mining Company, whose headquarters he soon moved from Marysville to San Francisco.

With mining possibly not paying off as Videau had expected, the following year he joined Roth in his liquor house.  The partners called themselves “Importers and Dealers in Fine Wines, Liquors, Brandies and Provisions.  They also were selling liquor wholesale to local saloons and “rectifying,” that is, blending their own brands.  Their flagship label became “Capitol Whiskey,” trademarked in 1874, a very early registration, the legislation having been adopted by Congress only four years earlier. 

Meeting with considerable success, the partners moved in 1873 to larger quarters at 214 and 216 Pine Street.  Their Capitol OK Whiskey, as show here, was sold in quart bottles of both clear and amber that held the Roth monogram, as well as in flasks that advertised the Pine Street address.  In 1876, Videau, likely interested in returning to the restaurant business, sold his share of Roth & Company to Herman L. Levy.  


That partnership became Roth & Levy, advertising as Importers and Wholesale Dealers in Fine Wines, Liquors, Brandies and Whiskies.”  To be successful liquor wholesalers recognized the value of giveaways to prime customers like saloons, restaurants and hotels.  The firm was noted for its saloon signs and shot glasses advertising Capitol OK.  Examples of both are scattered throughout this post. 


After three years partnering with Roth, Levy sold his half interest to Adolph Roos and Simon Scheeline.  Roos was a San Francisco businessman and Scheeline, shown here, sold general merchandise.  Both had immigrated from Germany as youths.  When Joseph Roth died in 1891, Roos and Scheeline bought his share and continued to operate the company under his name.

The new partnership continued vigorously to market Capitol OK whiskey, adding a second featured brand, “Lawton Rye.”  Shown here, front and back is a labeled flask of this whiskey, advertised as a “blend of straight rye whiskeys,”  likely compounded on company premises.  The Lawton Rye brand name was trademarked in 1906.  Other Roth & Company labels were “Concord BBB Blended Whiskey” and “Blue Grass Whiskey.”


After Simon Scheeline died in 1901, his share of the liquor house devolved on members of his family, his wife Henriette (Leydecker) Scheeline and his 29-year-old son, Edwin.  The latter likely was already working for the liquor house, being schooled by his father in the business.  Some months later Roos retired, selling his share to mother and son Scheelines, who now owned Roth & Company outright.  They moved the business to 316 Market Street in 1904.

When the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed those premises, the Scheelines took only a few months before locating the firm at a new building at 117 Front Street.  That would be the address of Roth & Company from 1907 to 1919 when the Scheelines were forced to shut down by the arrival of National Prohibition.  Henriette Scheeline died later the same year.

Joseph Roth, Henry Videau, Herman Levy, Adolph Roos, Simon Scheeline, Henriette Scheeline, and Edwin Scheeline all played roles in the longevity of Roth & Co., a remarkable run in San Francisco of sixty years beginning before the Civil War and ending after World War One.  While the United States and the world had experienced dramatic changes, Roth & Co. had survived and prospered, providing future generations with an abundance of artifacts by which to remember it.































Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Remembering Robert Ingersoll, Whisky Man


      The most popular American orator of his time and noted religious sceptic, Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1889) is an unlikely candidate for the title:  “whiskey man.”  That is, until one looks at the liquor label that opens this vignette and recognizes that it advertises “Ingersoll Whiskey,” with the gentleman’s picture and signature prominently displayed.

Born in Dresden, New York, in 1833 in the modest home shown here, Ingersoll was the son of a fire-and-brimstone Congregationalist minister. Although his formal education was limited, he read widely, especially in the classics.  After teaching school for two years in Illinois and Tennessee, he studied law at a law firm in Marion, Illinois.  In 1854, Ingersoll passed the Illinois bar, and within a few years had established a successful law practice in Peoria, Illinois.  He is shown below as a young man.

Blessed with a powerful speaking style, Ingersoll made several unsuccessful tries for political office and at the onset of the Civil War, raised and commanded the 11th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Cavalry.  He saw action at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862), but was captured later and released upon a promise to refrain from further combat.  Upon his return to Illinois he rapidly gained national fame as a stump speaker for political and other causes.

In an era when radio, television and other electronic devices did not exist,  people in locations all over America would flock to hear a well-known orator. Ingersoll became the chief of that tribe.  As shown above in what may be the only photo of him at an outdoor gathering, he could command the presence of thousands with his speeches.  


Ingersoll also had a flair for the dramatic.  A Chicago Tribune reporter captured some of his persona in a 1876 courtroom appearance:  “…Col. Ingersoll walked into the room , took off a broad-brimmed felt hat, which gave the barrister, while he has it on, somewhat the appearance of a full-grown, well-developed Quaker….When he has the hat removed, however, the counsellor’s appearance undergoes a marked change.  He then looks like the crop-haired follower of the house of Montague in the Shakepearean play.”  The reporter also noted that Ingersoll never took a note: “What he cannot recollect, he does not have any use for.”  This refusal also carried over into his stump.  Ingersoll could speak for hours without a single note.

This courtroom appearance may well have a link to Ingersoll being given his own brand of whiskey.  On trial was Daniel W. Munn,  a deputy supervisor of Internal Revenue in Chicago who was accused of being a part of the “Whiskey Ring.”  This was a giant conspiracy during the Grant Administration to defraud the U.S. Government out of millions in liquor tax revenues.  When the plot was discovered, it resulted in the arrest of more than 200 revenue officers, distillers and liquor wholesalers in cities throughout the Midwest.

Munn was accused by a Chicago politician named Jacob Rehm, an alleged ringleader of the conspiracy, as a participant in the fraud.  Ingersoll defended Munn vigorously, declaiming:  “Is there any safety in human society if you will take the testimony of a perjured man…If the statement of a confessed conspirator makes the character of a great and good man worthless?”  A jury found Munn, a Civil War veteran and respected local lawyer, innocent of the charges, a result that was popular in Chicago and further enhanced Ingersoll’s reputation.

In the course of Munn’s defense, however, Ingersoll took a hard line against  whiskey:  “I believe to a certain degree with the District Attorney in this case, who has said that every man who makes whiskey is demoralized.  I believe, gentlemen, to a certain degree, it demoralizes those who make it, those who sell it, and those who drink it.  I believe from the time it issues from the coiled and poisonous worm of the distillery, until it empties into the hell of crime, dishonor and death, that it demoralizes everybody that touches it.”


This diatribe is a far cry from the lavish praise to be found on the Ingersoll Whiskey label that opens this post, to wit:  “The most wonderful whiskey that every drove the skeleton from the feast or painted landscapes in the brain of man.  It is the mingled souls of corn & rye.  In it you will find the sunshine & the shadow that chase each other over the billowy fields, the breath of June, the carol of the lark, the dew of night, the wealth of summer and autumn’s rich content.  All golden with imprisoned light.  Drink it and you will hear the voices of men & maidens singing ‘The Harvest Home,” mingled with the laughter of children.  Drink it and you will feel within your blood the star-led dawns.  The dreamy, tawny dusks, of many perfect days.  For 40 years this liquid joy has been within the happy staves of oak.  Longing to touch the lips of men.”

Ingersoll scholars like Tom Flynn at the Center for Inquiry at Amherst, New York find “much mystery” in the whiskey label.   Flynn says the text comes almost verbatim from an oration entitled “A Christmas Sermon” in which Ingersoll apparently quoted from something he had written earlier.   An article in “The Christian-Evangelist” publication later identified the screed as a note Ingersoll sent with a bottle of liquor to a reputed boyhood friend, Judge Joel W. Tyler of Cleveland.  Although the accuracy of this attribution is questionable, the florid language might well have originated in a personal communication.


While it is impossible to understand everything about the circumstances of Ingersoll Whiskey, some knowledge of the liquor industry of the time provides suggestions.  While the brand name was never trademarked, courts frowned on appropriating the name of a living individual for commercial purposes.  This suggests that Ingersoll agreed to the use of his name, picture, words, and signature, almost certainly for some manner of compensation.  Later Ingersoll also allowed his name to be used by a cigar manufacturer.

Making and selling liquor was an important industry in Illinois.  Ingersoll had his offices, shown here, in Peoria, a city known for its distilleries.  Chicago teemed with wholesale liquor dealers, many of them whiskey “rectifiers” who bought raw product from states like Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio and blended it to achieve a particular taste, color and smoothness.  Bottling the whiskey with their own label designs,  those liquor houses sold to it by the case to saloons, bars, and liquor stores throughout the Midwest.  It was common to include on such labels “bottled by…”  with the bottom left blank.  The retailer usually would stamp his own name on the label, apparently to convince the consumer of its local origin.

Wholesalers might feature as many as thirty or forty brands, many of them named to appeal to the drinking public, often with similar, if not identical, contents.  Ingersoll’s national fame, coupled with his known opposition to prohibition, may have prompted a liquor establishment to print up labels with Ingersoll’s purple prose to see what marketing possibilities might exist.  “Col. Bob” clearly, however, was not attuned to aging in whiskey.   None is aged 40 years, as he declared.  After 25 years in the barrel no additional benefit accrues.  Most was bottled well before a quarter century.  I would be astonished if Ingersoll Whiskey was aged more than five years.

As for Ingersoll’s own drinking habits, in his biography of Ingersoll, Orville Larson has asserted:  “After meals he would take a drink or two of whiskey because it was good for the digestion. ‘Whiskey is what you need,” he once wrote his indisposed secretary, Newton Baker.  ‘After every meal take a good swallow.  One swallow will not make a summer but will make you feel as though summer has come….’”  


Against this report must be balanced Ingersoll’s statement in a press interview:  “In my opinion there is a vast difference between distilled spirits and the lighter drinks, such as wine and beer.  Wine is a fireside and whiskey a conflagration.”
It would appear that despite having his own brand of whiskey The Great Agnostic” may have been of two minds on the subject.

Note:  The information for this post has been gathered from multiple sources. I am grateful to Tom Flynn for the information he provided in an email.  The photo of the Ingersoll birthplace, which I have visited, is through the courtesy of Dr. John P. Sullivan.  The house has been restored as a memorial to Ingersoll's life and work and the Freethought movement he championed.

































Saturday, October 20, 2018

Herman Eggers and Wetting “Dry” Kentucky


Try to put yourself in Herman Egger’s shoes.  In an overcrowded field of liquor dealers in Louisville, Kentucky, he was trying to distinguish himself and his “Old Drennon” whiskey by emphasizing mail order sales, asserting that for $3.20 he would ship four quarts to the nearest railway point of the buyer.   As more and more Kentucky counties under “local option” laws voted dry, however, he found his business rapidly dwindling. What could he do?

Adding to his problem was a quirk in the laws.  Kentucky banned Eggers from sending his whiskey to any county in the state that banned alcohol.  Because of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, however, liquor dealers other states could send booze by railway express to individuals in those counties with impunity.  Federal courts all over the U.S. had upheld that right.  


Faced with a dismal financial future, Eggers in 1912 fromm his Jefferson Street liquor house hatched a scheme to sell his whiskey to customers in officially dry Kentucky counties.  He composed and sent a form letter to doctors and druggists in “dry” localities asking them to help him.  In the letter the Louisville liquor dealer pointed out that for “medicinal purposes”  Kentucky law allowed licensed doctors and druggists to receive whiskey shipments in five gallons or less.  Eggers explained:  “There are a number of people in your neighborhood who would like to receive goods but cannot order within the state as the laws prevent shipments….If you will permit those who order to have goods shipped to you, without expense to you, it will be an accommodation to both of us.”

Eggers assured his potential collaborators that his proposal was within Kentucky law and urged them to write him with the names of friends who might be interested in shipments.  As a reward for their trouble in handling his liquor, cooperating doctors and druggists would be given one free gallon of whiskey for every ten gallons he shipped.  “I do not know if this would be legal,”  Eggers acknowledged, but went on to give detailed instructions how the process would work:

“Write on the back of this letter the names of those who may mail me an order in your name and have the goods go to you — they can call at your office for he package, or get it in your name, at the express office.  I will handle the shipments in such a way as to cause you no trouble, and your will receive a gallon of my very finest Old Drennon for your kindness, every time I receive orders for 10 gallons.”

Among the physicians who received Eggers’ letter was Dr. Thomas C. Holloway, an eminent gynecologist of Lexington, Kentucky, a town that intermittently had gone dry.   Dr. Holloway was caustic in his response to Eggers:  “As I have no intention of engaging in the whiskey business, I do not see what right you had to presume I would be interested in your bootlegging proposition.”  

Branding Egger’s proposition as insulting, Dr. Holloways sarcastically added:  Since you doubtless find it profitable to deal with the weaker element of the medical profession, I wonder that you do not branch out a little and include the illegal sale and distribution of cocaine, morphine and some of the other deadly poisons which doctors are permitted to order and which unfortunate human beings often want.”

“As for sending you a list of my friends I must say that unless your whiskey is vastly superior to your ethics, I have no friends for whom I care so little as so expose them to either, and I feel it would be a cowardly way of getting even with my enemies.”

Dr. Holloway ended his broadside by asking Eggers how he had gotten his name and what justification he might have for thinking he would be interested in the Louisville liquor dealer’s scheme.  The outraged physician went further by sending the exchange of letters to the Kentucky Medical Journal, the state’s leading publication for doctors and druggists.  They published it under the headline “Forum” on September 1, 1912.


With Eggers’ scheme exposed, its utility was gone.  Even if tempted initially, the “weaker elements” of the medical fraternity, to use Holloway’s term, likely found themselves walking away from Egger’s proposition once it was widely known to the medical fraternity and likely revealed to law enforcement officials.  Moreover, Eggers had been exposed as someone willing to conspire to evade the law.

Herman Eggers was born in rural Kentucky in October 1857 to Johannes and Amalia Stutenbecker Eggers.  At the time of his birth his father was 18 years old, his mother was 14.  After an elementary education in local schools, Herman moved to Louisville sometime in the 1870s where he likely served an apprenticeship in one of the city’s many liquor houses.

According to Kentucky records, Herman was married in 1881 in Louisville.  His bride was Elizabeth Henrietta  (called “Lizzie”) Simms.  Their union produced five children,  Herman Junior, born 1888;  Hiram — who became a doctor — 1890;  Eva, 1892; Helen, 1896, and Herbert, 1889.  Marriage may have provided the incentive for Eggers, age 25, to strike out on his own.  His advertising materials claimed 1882 as the origin of his company.

Egger’s establishment as described in public records appears to have been a combination liquor store, saloon and grocery.  He was known for heavily advertising his flagship brand, “Old Drennon.”   It likely was named for Joseph Drennon, an early Kentucky pioneer and the man who discovered the healing hot waters of Drennon Springs in Henry County.  Of this whiskey, Eggers boasted: “Old Drennon Wins…Everybody Votes Old Drennon the Best.”

Eggers was not a distiller but was compounding his whiskey from product bought from in-state distilleries so that it could be advertised as the “pure Kentucky whiskey” he claimed it to be.  Blended to achieve a particular color, taste and smoothness, Eggers was selling Old Drennon wholesale in gallon and larger ceramic jugs, two variations shown here.  The one shown left featured a brown Albany slip top and a white Bristol glaze base on which a cobalt label has been under-glazed.  The example below combines the brown top with a basic salt-glaze finish.  

For retail customers, Eggers packaged Old Drennon in labeled bottles with embossing on the glass.  These could be quart sized, as shown in his ads, or flasks in several sizes.  Note that in the flask above, Eggers identified his business as “wines and liquors.”  The 1910 U.S. census listed his occupation as “retail grocery & liquor.” 



Those were prosperous days for Eggers who moved his growing family into a large house at 1181 East Broadway, a home big enough to accommodate a live-in servant woman.  Shown here, the house currently is divided into five apartments.

As the noose of National Prohibition slowly tightened around the Kentucky liquor industry,  Eggers phased out liquor and increasingly emphasized his grocery trade.   After Lizzie died in 1924, Herman, having reached his middle sixties, closed out his grocery business and retired.  The 1930 census found him at the East Broadway address, living with two unmarried adult daughters.  Eggers died in December of that year.  The cause given was heart disease.  He was buried next to Lizzie in Section 5, Lot 136, of Cave Hill Cemetery, a graveyard in which many Kentucky whiskey men are laid to rest.

I began this inquiry into the life of Herman D. Eggers by delving into his attempt to wet “dry” Kentucky with alcohol by convincing doctors and druggists into helping him reach customers in places where spiritous drink was outlawed.  It was a scheme blunted by Dr. Holloway’s scathing public response.  This leaves the nagging question of what effect, if any, the exposure of Eggers’ attempt at “bootlegging” had on his personal life and community standing.































Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Whiskey Men — From Booze to Banking


Foreword:  The numbers of distillers, liquor wholesalers and saloonkeepers who turned to banking sometime during their careers is legion.  But it should not be too surprising.  Selling alcohol could be a very lucrative profession and many whiskey men had ready cash for investment.   Banks proliferated during the latter half of the 1800s and these gents had ready money to take advantage of the opportunities.  Some continued their liquor interests while engaging in the financial world; others turned to it when prohibitionary forces shut down their liquid operations.  Out of the many I have profiled, four men have been selected to illustrate the various paths from booze to banking.

Charles Froeb, an immigrant to the United States as a teenager, founded a highly successful liquor business in Brooklyn and used it as a springboard to an equally successful career in banking.  While other whiskey men moved into banking once Prohibition forces shut them down,  Froeb, shown here, embarked entered the financial world as a parallel career.

Born in Germany in 1857 and brought to the United States as a youngster, settling in Brooklyn, Froeb spent eleven years working for a New York liquor house before striking out on his own, inn 1883 founding the Charles Froeb Co, wholesale liquor dealers.  Success came quickly. During the late 1880’s he engaged a well-known New York architect to build him a mansion in the Bedford Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn.  It is shown here.

Froeb’s flagship brand was “Blue Grass Rye” that he sold in ceramic jugs and glass bottles. He advertised it heavily, emphasizing its medicinal uses, asking “physicians and consumers” to note such qualities as “very digestible,” “very nourishing,” and “entirely natural.”  Like many of his competitors, Froeb issued color lithographed signs for saloon customers. Froeb’s depiction of Daniel Boone, advertising Blue Grass Rye stands out.

Even as he was prospering, Froeb perhaps anticipating Prohibition, was embarking on an alternative career. During the early 1900s he became a vice president of the German Savings Bank of Brooklyn.  By 1914 he had achieved the presidency.  This financial establishment merged several times and each time Froeb emerged at the top of bank management. He ultimately became president of the Lincoln Savings Bank, shown here, a post he held until retirement. 

Meanwhile the original source of his wealth and business prestige had been shut down by the dictates of National Prohibition.  When he died in 1946 at the ripe old age of 89, Froeb could look back on a career that brought him from a teenage immigrant, speaking only a foreign tongue, to the top of the New York City financial world, living in one of Brooklyn’s most elegant mansions.

The function of a “breaker boy” in mining was to break coal into pieces and sort those pieces into categories of nearly uniform size, a process known as “breaking."  The individual also chipped away any impurities that might be clinging to the coal.  It was hard, low-paying labor.  How Michael Bosak went from breaker boy in a Pennsylvania mine to proclaiming himself “The Richest Slovak in America”  is a story of brains and initiative.

Born in 1870 in Saris, a town now the Slovak Republic, Bosak immigrated to the U.S. about 1887, settling in Northeastern Pennsylvania.   After a few months he left mining and worked for several liquor merchants, taking orders and delivering merchandise.  Frugal in his habits, Bosak saved sufficient money to open his own liquor store in Hazelton in the 1890s.  When it prospered he opened a saloon called Glinsky’s Tavern in nearby Olyphant, Pennsylvania, and subsequently a branch liquor house in Scranton. 


Bosak's Growing wealth allowed him to pursue other business interests.  Early on he moved into  banking.  The force of his personality led other Slovak immigrants to trust him and seek his help in purchasing steamship tickets, exchanging foreign currency and making small loans. Bosak established  private bank in 1897 that grew into the Bosak State Bank of Scranton by 1915.  In time he also became president of the Miners Savings Bank of Olyphant and the Trust Company of Wilkes Barre.  Bosak's signature could be found on U.S. backed bank notes. 

Once the self-proclaimed “richest Slovak in America,” Bosak saw his business empire crumbling in 1929 with the advent of the Great Depression. His banks faltered and finally in 1931, failed and closed.   His earning of a lifetime were virtually wiped out.  Despite these setbacks, a biography of his life was entitled: “Michael Bosak:  An American Banker from Saris.” 

The Muehleisen, William Sr. and William Jr., father and son, were proprietors of one of Washington, D.C., best known and most prosperous liquor businesses until Congress in a fit of political correctness voted the District  “dry” and the son gravitated to running one of the more unusual banking institutions in the history of the Nation’s Capital.


About 1867, in the wake of the Civil War, Muehleisen Sr. struck out on his own, establishing himself as an importer and dealer in foreign and domestic wines and liquors at 918 Fifth Street, NW, in the District of Columbia.  The firm's flagship brand was Oakmont Whiskey.  For the next fifty years the Muehleisens ran a highly respected, very profitable, liquor house until William Jr. was forced out of business when Congress voted D.C. “dry” in 1917.

Muehleisen’s  transition from liquor to liquidity seems to have been an effortless one. He founded a bank.  A 1921 D.C. business directory listed him as president of the Mount Vernon Savings Bank, located in the International Machinists Building at 9th St. and Mount Vernon Place, N.W.. shown here.  As related in a historical account of D.C. banks, Muehleisen’s financial institution was the first U.S. bank in which a labor union owned a large bloc of the stock.  Known as a “labor bank,” with a mandate to benefit the working class,  this institution provided a higher return on worker money than other banks, namely, three percent on savings and four percent on certificates of deposit. The bank also worked closely with credit unions, holding their deposits and extending loans
to them.

Even after relinquishing the presidency of Mount Vernon Savings, Muehleisen Jr. stayed on as a director, listed as late as 1828 among their number.  The coming of the Great Depression, however, had a negative effect on this unusual financial institution when many small borrowers were forced to default on loans. The bank went out of business in the early 1930s.

Alexandria was a Virginia town with strong Confederate sympathies that greatly resented Union occupation during the Civil War. That animosity failed to deter a New Jersey lad of 23 who arrived in 1862 to sell whiskey to thirsty troops. Despite this problematic start, he became Alexandria’s mayor and a leading citizen while founding a liquor business that prospered until the advent of Prohibition.  His name was Emanuel Ethelbert (E. E.) Downham and his career ended in the financial sector.

After arriving in Alexandria, Downham quickly established himself as a wholesale liquor dealer with a profitable business.  His promise as an “up-and-comer” must have been evident very early. In 1865, despite being a Yankee, he married the daughter of a leading Alexandria merchant.  He also became politically active, in 1874 seeking and winning seats on the City Council and Board of Aldermen, eventually becoming mayor of Alexandria in 1887, an office he held for four years.

As Virginia came closer and closer to going “dry,” Downham changed direction and became a banker.  By the early 1910s his principal occupation had become president of the German Co-Operative Building Association, a financial organization located at 615 King Street.  This institution had been founded in 1890.  According to a local newspaper, the savings and loan association enjoyed “a steady patronage.”  The building, shown here, still stands in the city’s “Old Town” and is home to a bank.

Featured here are four whiskey men whose fortunes ultimately took them from operating liquor establishments to running financial institutions.  For some the onset of state and national Prohibition forced them into a new career.  For others the transition appears to have been a natural extension of their business interests.  In all cases their investments ultimately were fueled by money from selling whiskey.  

Note:  More complete profiles on each of the four whiskey men featured here can be found on other posts on this blog:  Charles Froeb, November 12, 2012;  Michael Bozak, August 23, 2013;  The Muehleisens, October 28, 2016; and E. E. Downham, May 26, 2011.