Help! This is all too confusing, even to a suspicious contrarian such as myself.
First of all, is it true that the only "evidence" sufficient to "prove" the Stitzel origin of wheated bourbon consists entirely of a letter from Pappy VW (to whom?), indicating that the new distillery was using a recipe "perfected by the Stitzel family over the years to make their bourbon". I'm sorry, but that just sounds so much like "Grampa Jim Beam saved a sample of the family's unique yeast by suspending it in the well until Prohibition ended", or "young Paul Jones named his whiskey after the corsage of four red roses worn as a signal of her acceptance by his boss' lovely daughter" (or was it his four daughters?). Or Bill Samuels' daddy baking loaves of bread until the "right smell" was obtained.
Not to say that Phil Stitzel didn't USE a wheated recipe, nor that it didn't make sense to continue using that same wheated recipe at their new distillery in Shively.
Arthur Phillip Stitzel's distillery was first built in 1872, well over twenty years after Willy LaRooo had established a reputation for marketing dependable, high-quality whiskey. Whiskey good enough to bear his own trademark, and which met his (presumably) exacting specifications. The Stitzel distillery began supplying whiskey for W.L. Weller & Sons in 1912. There is no mention of them having a wheated recipe, handed down for generations, before then, but they did a lot of contract work and they might have produced such a whiskey using clients' recipes. 1912 also saw Stitzel producing Cascade whiskey for George Dickel, after Tennessee went dry. Dickel was very particular about the production, insisting on the installation of the maple-charcoal equipment and the use of the original Cascade recipe. From what I've read, W.L. Weller was no less insistant upon the quality and features of whiskey it contracted for. And if Weller had indeed contracted with Stitzel, it might have been his own wheated recipe that Stitzel used. It would also seem likely that Weller's original wheated whiskey recipe would have been the one they later brought to the combined Stitzel-Weller distillery. That sure seems like a lot fewer generations to me.
Not that any of this had any effect on the Stagg distillery out there in Frankfort, of course. Except that, by virtue of obtaining the rights to the W.L. Weller brand long after he's been dead and buried, they now have rights to its history and justification for claiming that the original (i.e., Weller) wheat recipe is their's, as if they'd created it themselves. After all, isn't that what they (well, Schenley anyway) did when they bought Cascade and Dickel?
Then again, maybe they did create their own wheated bourbon receipe. Not the recipe of Willy Weller, of course, but rather the recipe they were contracted to produce for United Distillers, to be bottled as Old Fitzgerald, Old Weller, Cabin Still, David Nichols, and other "Stitzel-Weller" brands that UD was no longer making (at least in sufficient quantities) at Shively. The recipe designed expressly for use in the new, ultra-modern computerized Bernheim distillery. Many readers here seem to overlook the fact that know-it-all engineers, BRITISH ENGINEERS at that, with their backgrounds based firmly upon European production methods are hardly likely to build such a state-of-the-art facility from the ground up and then use it to produce whiskey from hundred-year-old recipes designed by folks without even a Masters degree from the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling.
The fact is that none of these folks "invented" nor hold any legitimate claim to the idea of wheated bourbon whiskey. As Shoshani pointed out, references as far back as 1818 indicate that distillers were producing commercially sold bourbon using rye OR wheat, but not both. I see no particular reason to believe that the one used at Stitzel wasn't Bill Weller's.