Is Joe Daniels the Reason American’s Reach for a ‘Cup of Joe’?
Former Secretary of the Navy was No Friend of ‘Jack Daniel’s’
Java, The Daily Grind, Black Tea, Morning Mud, Liquid Lightning and a ‘Cup of Joe’ are all nicknames and monikers for Coffee but who was this Joe, and do so many American’s start their day with a tribute to this ‘Joe’?
Seems there may not be a definitive reason why the term ‘Cup of Joe’ became an American saying. While some think it wasn’t part of the average American consciousness until the 1930′s, many believe that it all started with a order from Joe…and the US Navy. No matter which story you believe the folklore of this one is the tastier of the brews, and a “Cup of Joe” still starts the day.
‘Joe’ was Josephus Daniels, and Joe Daniels was not from Tennessee and wasn’t any friend to Jack Daniel or any distiller.
He was a tee totaling, son of a ship builder who was a newspaper publisher from North Carolina with friends in high places. He was he was ‘good ol’ buds with and ‘served’ for at least three US Presidents and for his support, Joe Daniels was named Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson during World War I.
Now Joe Daniels wasn’t a Navy man at all, but in June 1914 he felt compelled to exercise his political views for temperance by issuing US Navy General Order #99 that “prohibited the use or possession of alcoholic liquors on board of any naval vessel”.
But the order meant very little since alcoholic beverages had be prohibited on U.S. Naval ships for over 50 years for everyone except officers who were permitted a wine supply. Daniels was using the Naval Order to establish his stand on the topic of temperance and prohibition.
The folklore says that U.S. Seaman began mocking ‘Joe’ Daniels and his ‘mean-nothing’ Naval Order when they would order the strongest and most consumed item on board, which was coffee.
It was an insider ‘naval term’ according to some and became part of American Culture in print anyway by 1931.
A career newspaper man, Josephus Daniels found life in politics and his papers The Daily State Chronicle, The Raleigh News & Observer were unabashed in its advocacy for the Democratic Party. He was North Carolina’s state printer in 1887-93 and chief clerk of the Federal department of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland.
Before Joe Daniels led his own one-man temperance campaign, he was controversial in his home state of North Carolina. He launched a ‘White Supremacy’ political campaign to appeal local racist sentiment to help his party win elections in 1898 and 1890later held the office of Secretary of the Navy and also was named Ambassador to Mexico by Franklin Roosevelt.
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