Manny Shwab and the George Dickel Company

Whisky, Power and Politics During Nashville’s Gilded Age


In stock

About the Book

There was once a Tennessee whiskey that dwarfed Jack Daniel’s, and a powerful man was behind it: V.E. “Manny” Shwab. Until now, virtually nothing has been written about either. Their story is one of a Jewish Alsatian immigrant’s dream of finding community and prosperity in the New world; of smuggling during the Civil War; of the raging, sometimes fatal, battle against Prohibition; and of the wild side of rapidly growing Nashville during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
“Manny” Shwab was a Tennessean known as the “owner” of Tennessee politics, and—because of his George Dickel company, saloons, and Cascade Whisky—the “debaucherer of more young men than anyone else in the state.” He was also one of Tennesee’s richest and most powerful men for four decades. This is the first full-length biography of V. E. Shwab, written by his great-grandson, and also the first complete history of the George Dickel company.

About the Author(s)

Clay Shwab taught business management, senior thesis, and management in literature at Maryville College for 10 years after a business career at Whittle Communications, Snyder Communications and Edison Schools. He lives in Maryville, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Clay Shwab
Forewords by Ridley Wills II and Kay Baker Gaston

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 70 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9277-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5108-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Ridley Wills II 1
Foreword by Kay Baker Gaston 3
Preface 5
Introduction 9
1. Abraham, 1841–1857 13
2. Knoxville’s First Jewish Bride; Knoxville’s First Jewish Divorce 21
3. Parson Brownlow versus A. Schwab & Co. 25
4. Civil War 29
5. George A. Dickel & Co. 36
6. The Growing Temperance Movement 48
7. The Saga of Bell Nance 51
8. 1881–1889 54
9. Cascade Hollow and the Silver Dollar Saloon 71
10. Diversification and Family 82
11. Temperance and Law Enforcement: Captain Clack 89
12. The Tennessee Election, 1894 102
13. George Augustus Dickel, 1818–1894 110
14. Siblings 112
15. 1897–1898 121
16. Full Ownership of the Cascade Hollow Distillery 127
17. 1900–1905 135
18. The Southern Electric Company and “A Harmless Shooting Affair” 140
19. The Killing of a Senator on Union Street 147
20. 1909: The Largest Federal Seizure in History 150
21. Distilling, Prohibition, and Shifting Plans 159
22. That Reif Letter: Legislators Flee to Alabama 166
23. Manny and Boss Crump: Liquor by the Drink 173
24. Nashville’s Largest Office Buildings: Dueling Newspapers 179
25. The Final Game: U.S. Supreme Court: Shwab v. Doyle 185
Epilogue 195
Appendix 197
Chapter Notes 215
Bibliography 225
Index 233