George French
of French's Mustard Fame

George French of French’s mustard fame was born in Elmira, accidentally, on November 5, 1854. His parents were on their way, by train, from Rochester to New York City (father Robert T. French was a spice merchant was on the way to a meeting in NYC.) His mom, who was expecting a baby, didn’t feel too well and needed to stop in Elmira to rest. As these things happen, George, the baby, was born in Elmira. The family had relatives in Elmira and had been here before. Dad had to get to his meeting in NYC, and left his family here for several weeks. As soon as Mom and George were able to travel, they rejoined Dad in NYC. Eventually, George grew up, went to Rochester and discovered yellow mustard in 1904.

George’s father was born in nearby Ithaca, New York in 1823. George and his father bought a flour mill in Fairport, New York in 1883. In 1884, fire claimed the mill and they moved the business to Rochester. Robert died in 1893 and George became president. In 1904, French’s Yellow Mustard made its first appearance at the St. Louis World’s Fair - another unforgettable product was also introduced coincidently at the same time - the hot dog.

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© 2019 by Diane Janowski. All rights reserved.