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CHARLES NELSON
Nashville, TN.
1874-1915
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Charles Nelson was born in Mecklenburg, Germany. After emigrating to the US, he found a home in Cincinnati but later moved to Nashville and established a wholesale grocery business. In 1870, he bought the Greenbrier distillery to supply the liquor that his grocery trade demanded. The distillery was located in Robertson County and had been established ca. 1867 by Charles Palmer of Springfield. At its peak, the distillery employed fifteen to twenty-five workers, including government inspectors and gaugers as well as the operators. By 1885 the Greenbrier Distillery manufactured 8,000 barrels of whiskey or a little less than 380,000 gallons a year, and paid annual taxes of over $341,000. Whiskey from the distillery was bottled under the Greenbrier label and distributed from Nelson's Nashville warehouse on 2 nd Avenue North.

By 1894, Nelson's widow, Louisa, was running the distillery but Tennessee was gradually becoming a dry state. In 1903, the Adams Law extended the Four Mile Law (enacted in 1877) to include towns of 5,000 and that closed the saloons of Springfield. State-wide prohibition on the manufacture of whiskey was enacted in 1909 and Nelson's Greenbrier distillery went out of business, along with many others.

The company used the brand names:
"Belle Meade ", "Crown", "Glencliff", "Green Brier", "Green Brier", "Lincoln Co. ", "Lord Nelson", "Nelson's Green Brier", "Nelson's Tennessee", "Private Stock", "Robertson Co. S. M.", "Rock Corn", "Rock Corn", and "Tennessee Eagle."

Business name timeline:
Charles Nelson (1874-1883), Greenbrier Distillery, Charles Nelson proprietor (1884-1888), Charles Nelson (1886-1899), Nelson & Brengelman (1905), Charles Nelson (1909-1910), Charles Nelson, estate (1912-1915)

Address timeline:
21-23 S Market (1874-1878), 66 S Market (1880-1887), 132 N Market (1888), 134-136 N Market (1889), 134 N Market (1890-1899), 134-136 2 nd Ave N (1905-1915)

Business category timeline (abbreviations decoded below):
V, D (1876)


Years that company appeared in directories
Years directories were consulted
Nashville directory notes



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Appearance in directories:
1874, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1905, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915

Directories consulted:
1871, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915

Nashville directory notes:
V= Wine & Liquor (Wholesale), V-R = Wine & Liquor (Retail), W = Whiskey (Wholesale), L = Liquors (Wholesale) D = Distiller, DA = distiller's agent

Distillers only, except for 1874 when the copies include Wine & Liquors, Wholesale & Retail. N Market became 2 nd St in or around 1904.

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