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The Latonia Distillery
RD #2, 6 th District
Kenton County, KY

(Est. 1865)

1865: The plant was built in 1865 by William J McRoberts Jr. of Cincinnati OH (formerly of Dundonald, County Down, Ireland). It was located four miles south of Cincinnati, at the juncture of the Louisville Short Line & Kentucky Central Railroads near Latonia Station. It began operating in 1866 and was known as the "Willow Run", with Thomas Hewitt (McRoberts' son-in-law) as manager. At that time, McRoberts was a principal with the Boyle Distillery in Cincinnati as well as the McRoberts Distillery in Peoria Illinois.

1869: The Boyle Distillery suffered its second major fire and, after insurance paid, William McRoberts still had to pay $250,000 out of his own pocket to rebuild it from scratch, which he did. Unfortunately, he was unable to pay the taxes on Willow Run and the government would not grant an extension. McRoberts and his associates fought this with the government to recover Willow Run, but McRoberts died in 1876 (or 1875?) and so the estate settled the matter.

1878 (or earlier): The Willow Run was purchased following McRobert's death by Charles L Mills (Thanks to Lynnmarie Dixon, great, great-granddaughter of Wm McRoberts Jr., for providing this history.)

City business directories for Covington and Cincinnati both list the Willow Run and identify Charles L Mills as President & Treasurer of the Willow Run Distilling Co. of S Covington (1879-1880).

1891: The distillery was now operating as the Latonia, with Crigler & Crigler at the helm (Cecil, 1999).

1892: Insurance underwriter records show that the distillery was of brick construction with a metal or slate roof. The distillery property included a cattle shed and at least 23 bonded warehouses and one free warehouse, all brick construction with metal or slate roofs. The warehouses are listed according to which of the various aliases were running them. Several of them are identified as adjoining or communicating and hence may have been tax-defined subdivisions of the same building?  The records appear are as follows:

Also run as:Bonded
Ft. from Dist'yRemarks
White Mills Distilling Co.A.270 ft SW 
Hoffheimer Bros.B.  
White Mills Distilling Co.B.  
L. O. Maddox & Co.C.  This block of
H. W. Smith & Co.C. Warehouses
Kentucky ValleyD.  A, B, C, D,
Eichhold Bros & WeissD.  E, G, H &
Latonia Distilling Co.D.  I, J, K, L,
Eichhold Bros & WeissE.  M, X, U and V
Latonia Distilling Co.E. all communicate
Walnut Creek Distilling Co.E.  
Weiderman, Holmes & Co.E.  
Marshall Distilling Co.E.  
Maddox, Hobart & Co.G.  
Latonia Distilling Co.Free F.265 ft WPart Bonded
H. W. Smith & Co.H.700 ft W 
Union Distilling Co.I.  
 W. Warehouses
White Mills Distilling Co.X.600 ft WJ, K, L, and
Union Distilling Co.J. M, adjoin
Star Distilling Co.J.  
Star Distilling Co.K.  
H. W. Smith & Co.L.  
Chicago Distilling Co.M.  
Maddox, Hobart & Co.N.100 ft W 
White Mills Distilling Co.P.  
White Mills Distilling Co.R.  
Pleasant Valley Distilling Co.S.  
 U.Adj. H, I 
 W.Adj. J, G. 

In 1892, the insurance records show that the Latonia was being run by the Latonia Distillery Co., and probably continued as such until 1896 or later.

1895:The Latonia is by now a property of the Trust, with a capacity of 2,000 bushels and estimated value of $10,000 (New York Times, Nov. 10, 1895).

Aliases that this distillery's product was sold under
Review bonded warehouse transactions for this distillery

The Latonia Distillery provided product that was sold under the following aliases:

Internal Revenue recorded warehouse transactions for The Latonia Distillery as follows:
( explain: origin of these records, letter codes )

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