HALFMOON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Mott’s company is best known for its applesauce, apple juice, and fruit snacks. But did you know the apple empire actually started in Saratoga County?
If you look at any Mott’s label, it says “since 1842.” According to Halfmoon Town Historian Lynda Bryan, that’s the year Samuel Mott began selling apple cider and vinegar to his neighbors in Halfmoon.
Bryan held a presentation on the Mott family and their roots at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library on Friday. She said the story starts with Zebulon Mott, the first family to live on the Mott farm on Farm to Market Road in Halfmoon.
Zebulon and his wife Rebecca bought the property in 1795. He was the Halfmoon Town Supervisor from 1801 to 1817, served in the New York State Legislature, and was Deacon of the First Baptist Church that stood at the corner of Farm to Market and Pruyn Hill Roads.
Zebulon’s son John lived on a neighboring farm. Samuel Roger Mott, John’s Son, was the last Mott to live on the Halfmoon farm. Over the years, Samuel learned all about processing the apples for cider and vinegar from his grandfather Zebulon.
In 1842, Samuel began selling his apple products to his neighbors in Halfmoon at 16 years old. His grandfather Zebulon died that same year. Bryan said the cider was made by hitched horses that plodded in a circle, crushing apples between two large stones drums. As the demand for his products grew, Samuel expanded the mill and replaced the horses with a more modern method using waterpower and steam.
In 1868, Samuel, his wife Ann Mary Coon, and four of their five children left Halfmoon and moved to Bouckville, located in Madison County, buying a third interest in a cider vinegar factory. In 1870, Samuel bought out his two partners for $4,500.
John Coon Mott, Samuel and Ann Mary’s oldest son, did not move with the family to Bouckville, but moved to New York City where he opened a cider mill of his own. In 1879, father and son merged their companies to form the S.R. & J.C. Mott Company. In 1882, the mill in Bouckville was producing 600 barrels of juice per day.
In 1900, the S.R. & J.C. Mott Company merged with the W.B. Duffy Cider Company of Rochester, creating Duffy-Mott, and was incorporated in New York in 1914. Bryan said this newly formed company introduced many products that we are familiar with today. The company was sold to Cadbury Schwepps in 1982.