The Tea Kettle Distillery/Richwood Distillery in Milton KY

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The Tea Kettle Distillery/Richwood Distillery in Milton KY

Unread postby tykee » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:41 pm

My Great Grandfather James Shea was a distributor/agent for this distillery in the mid-late 1800's in San Francisco. I have been told the still was located in Hunters Bottom, Milton, Trimble County, KY. I have been also told that he partnered with Robert McKee because he held the patent (?) for this brand "Tea Kettle".

James Shea company has had many names in San Francisco: Shea, Hussey & Co. (1868-1870), Shea, Bocqueraz & McKee (1871-1887), (McKee died in 1885) Shea, Bocqueraz & Co. (1888-1903), Shea, Bocqueraz Co. (1903-1917).

From I was lucky to be provided the following information after it was rebuilt after a fire in 1880:

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

* 1880-1913: James Levy & Bro., Cincinnati, OH
* 1892: Richwood Distilling Co., Cincinnati, OH
* 1892: Susquehanna Distilling Co., Cincinnati, OH
* 1892: Crab Orchard Distilling Co., Louisville, KY
* 1892: Lilienthal & Co., Cincinnati, OH
* 1892: Loeb, Bloom & Co., Paducah, KY
* 1913-1920: Ferdinand Westheimer & Co., St. Joseph, MO

Can anyone please tell me is the distillery still exists, even closed, so that I might visit it?

Thanks, Tykee
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Re: The Tea Kettle Distillery/Richwood Distillery in Milton KY

Unread postby ridgerunner » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:59 pm

Richwood Distillery was founded by James Snyder in 1840. The Snyders ran and operated it in some form for many years. I feel James was the son of my 3rd great grandfather William Snyder who built and founded the Petersburg Distillery sometimes referred to as the Boone County Distillery. A family by the name of Fern or Fearn owned the distillery after the Snyders.
There is a historical building left in Milton, Ky. that is part of the old distillery that is a rental apartment building. I also have some pictures of several piles of rock and bricks which is all that is left to the main structure. The distillery was wiped out in a fire in 1882 and then must have been rebuilt because there was another fire there on Sept. 2, 1890. I have lots of information on the Snyders. I also have some pictures of the distillery and the mill that belonged to the Snyders. I am aware of the other companies and names associated with the distillery. I am willing to share what I have if you wish anymore information. I have not shared on this forum before so I do not know what is protocol for sharing information.
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Re: The Tea Kettle Distillery/Richwood Distillery in Milton KY

Unread postby cowdery » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:24 pm

We love to hear about historic distilleries. Post away!
- Chuck Cowdery

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Re: The Tea Kettle Distillery/Richwood Distillery in Milton KY

Unread postby Beam58 » Sat May 22, 2010 5:41 pm

My Grandfather Guy S. Beam along with my uncle Burch Beam, and a member of the Dant Family, ( J.W. Dant lineage) Jack Dant I believe tried to reopen this distillery in the 1940's but were unsuccessful. I am trying to do some research now, and came upon this post.
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Re: The Tea Kettle Distillery/Richwood Distillery in Milton KY

Unread postby ridgerunner » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:02 pm

I have been to Hunter's Bottom twice in Trimble County, Ky. on the Ohio River in the last three years. There is nothing left there anymore of the distillery or the Snyder House and Mill. I do have pictures of what it looked like. I now have all the newspaper articles on the fires due to a wonderful fireman in the area. I am writing a book on the Snyder's who I am directly related to and am also in touch with several cousins. The Snyders are all part of a long line of distillers that came originally from Virginia and are descendants of John Snyder of the Germanna settlement in Va. John his grandson was the first to come to Ky. and settled in Petersburg, Boone County, Ky. His wife's family was in the Trimble County area where he relocated. His youngest brother William my 3rd great grandfather came next to Boone County with his family. The first distillery was Boone County or better known as Petersburg Distillery and was started in about 1836 on the Ohio River in Petersburg, Ky. I feel that John who was a miller/distiller helped William start the first distillery with his son James in Petersburg, Ky. After they got that distillery up and running we know that John and his wife and family moved to Hunter's Bottom, Milton, Trimble County and founded Richwood Distillery. We feel that William and James went with them to help them start Richwood Distillery. John died in an accident in 1844 soon after the distillery was established and William and his son James returned to Petersburg leaving John's sons to keep the distillery going and that is probably why it is said James is the one that founded the distillery. John's sons and wife who was a paraplegic ran that distillery for many years. When you go to Hunter's Bottom it is nothing but bottom land on the Ohio River. The town of Milton is a so small you will miss it and not know it is there except for the bridge over the river to Madison, IN. Richwood was built right on the river and is was a flood zone. Most of the houses built there now are across the road and above the flood zone stage even though there are dams to control flooding. I visited a used car dealership near the bridge and he had a wood case with Snyder Whiskey on it and he had a bottle of Snyder Whiskey. The box he would have sold me but not the bottle. The bank had a large picture of the distillery and they made me copies and I took digital pictures of the original. My cousin who is a descendant of John lives in a different county but also has an original bottle he has purchased. If you ever visit the area there is a wonderful B & B called Richwood Plantation. They claim the Richwood Distillery was started and owned by a man named Samuel Fern. I have him listed on the tax records for a distillery in Milton and it could be that the Snyder's sold out to him. Regardless there were three generations of John Snyder's family that worked that distillery either as owners or for Mr. Fern. I am going to Frankfort, Ky. soon to check the tax records for Boone and Trimble County to see if I can find out more information on the distilleries and get a better time line. I have quite a few files on Richwood distillery with pictures and the history that I would like to share with you. Please feel free to e-mail me at Any others who read this can e-mail me for information but I would ask that you please treat my e-mail address with care. There is way too much information that I have to share to do it on this website.
One more thing before I close. John and William's father Michael, mother Martha Patsy and grandfather Samuel Stigler are all listed as Revolutionary War Patriots and have files with the Daughter's of the American Revolution (DAR). Michael Snyder was a distiller in his own right in Madison County, VA and died in 1815. His estate inventory lists many stills and barrels of whiskey and all kinds of equipment and grain to make whiskey.
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