"Daniel was celebrated for founding his own distillery, in 1866, at the mouth of a cave spring in Lynchburg, Tenn.—the master stroke that separated his whiskey from the stiff competition of the time. But before he found fame, Daniel was orphaned at age 15, according to the history 'Dead Distillers,' recently published by the Brooklyn-based bourbon distillers Colin Spoelman and David Haskell. Homeless, Daniel was taken in by the Call family, who owned a small distillery. The man Call put in charge of the whiskey production was none other than Uncle Nearis."
Ben Guarino in The Washington Post writes about Nearis Green, the enslaved distiller who taught Jack Daniel.