Henry Overholt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Henry Overholt
Henrich Oberholtzer

(1739-02-05)February 5, 1739 [1]
Died March 5, 1813(1813-03-05) (aged 74)[1]
Resting place Alverton Cemetery, Alverton, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA
Nationality American
Occupation distiller
Spouse(s) Anna Beitler Oberholtzer (1745 - 1835)
Children Agnes Overholt Frets (1765 - 1850), Anna Overholt Loucks (1770 - 1845), Barbara Overholt Durstine (1775 - 1848), Sarah Oberholtzer (1781 - 1781), Abraham Overholt (1784 - 1870), Christian Overholt (1786 - 1868),
Parent(s) Martin Oberholtzer (1709 - 1744), Agnes Fretz Kolb Oberholtzer Nash (1713 - 1786)
Relatives siblings - Barbara Oberholzer Fretz (1737 - 1823), Martin Overholt / Oberholtzer (1743 - 1811)

Henry Overholt (born Henrich Oberholtzer; 1739-1813)[1] was an American whiskey distiller and founder of the Overholt Whiskey distillery.


In 1800, Overholt moved to southwestern Pennsylvania from Bucks County,Pennsylvania.[2] He is the great grandfather of Henry Clay Frick. Overholt's son, Abraham Overholt, gave Frick an introduction to successful business operation. The family homestead is located near to Scottdale, Pennsylvania, in the small town of West Overton where there originally was a farm and distillery. The family processed rye into whiskey they grew on the farm.[3]

Henry's son Abraham Overholt encouraged the production of rye whiskey in 1810 to be sold commercially. Normally, rye whiskey was produced for medicinal purposes. Henry agreed and the Overholts' became the first to produce rye whiskey in Pennsylvania for commercial consumption instead of strictly for medicinal purposes. The Overholts were Mennonites and the church did not approve of the sale of Overholt's "Old Farm Whiskey". The family business expanded when one of Abraham's sons built a second distillery. It operated nearby at Broad Ford and produced the brands known as “Old Overholt” or “Monongahela Rye". The distilleries prospered, resulting in the growth of the family's land holdings to 260 acres. They were able to produce up eight gallons per day-four times more than when they began.[3]


Abraham Overholt

At Henry's death, his sons Abraham and Christian inherited the farm and distillery business. As their business grew, several buildings were erected to address the rising demand of whiskey by the public. Together Abraham and Christian built up and enlarged the distillery which now had the production capacity of almost 200 gallons of rye whiskey per day. Soon after, Abraham bought out Christian's shares of the company and in the mid-1800s went into business with his two sons, Jacob and Henry. At this time, Abraham renamed the business, Abraham Overholt & Company.[3]

Abraham Overholt was the (great?)-grandfather to Henry Clay Frick. The Abraham Overholt & Company operated until the company was closed in 1919 because of the passage of the Prohibition amendment. Later, Helen Clay Frick, daughter of Henry Clay Frick, donated the distillery properties to be used for a museum and part of the restored historic West Overton Village.[3]

The Overholt distillery was purchased by Henry's granddaughter Helen Clay Frick and refurbished into a museum.[4] The brand name Old Overholt® Straight Rye Whiskey is currently owned by the Jim Beam company.[5]


The collection of documents related to the life and business of Henry Overholt collection is housed at the Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh Library System, University of Pittsburgh. The archived materials consist of Distillery postcards, Distillery 100th anniversary pamphlets, Distillery mailing pamphlets, Distillery checks, Obituary of Abraham Overholt, View of property of A.S.R. Overholt & Company, West Overton, Pa., journals and a ledger.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Henrich Oberholtzer at findagrave.com
  2. ^ Wondrich, David (2 September 2016). "The Rise & Fall of America's Oldest Whiskey". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  3. ^ a b c d "Abraham Overholt & Company, 1881-1888, Guides to Archives and Manuscript Collections at the University of Pittsburgh Library System". University of Pittsburgh. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ Pickels, Kaidia (3 September 2014). "West Overton museum tells story of Overholt family, distillery". TribLIVE. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  5. ^ "THE OLDS™ - WHISKEYS". Jim Beam. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  6. ^ "Abraham Overholt & Company, 1881-1888, Guides to Archives and Manuscript Collections at the University of Pittsburgh Library System". University of Pittsburgh. Missing or empty |url= (help)

External links

  • A history of the Overholt family, EllenJaye.com
  • Abraham Overholt at Find a Grave
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Henry_Overholt&oldid=908125698"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Overholt
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Henry Overholt"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA