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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1886

Vol. III

(Born N. Y.)

Seward Mott

(Ap'd N. Y.)


Born Aug. 21, 1861, Mechanicville, NY.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1881, to  p405 July 1, 1886, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Add. Second Lieut., 6th Cavalry, July 1, 1886.

Second Lieut., 6th Cavalry, July 6, 1886.

Served: on frontier duty at Ft. Thomas, Ara., Oct. 4 to Nov. 30, 1886, — and San Carlos, Ara., to Mar. 11, 1887.

Died, Mar. 11, 1887, of Injuries received in an Assault made upon Him by an Indian: Aged 25.​b

See Annual Association of Graduates, U. S. M. A., 1887, for an obituary notice.º

Buried, Woodlawn Cemetery, Hamilton, NY.

Thayer's Notes:

a Lt. Mott's birthdate is from E. D. Harris, Genealogical Charts (1918), as cited in the Mott Family Genealogy Pages, once at RootsWeb but now offline; his birthplace is as given by Clare V. McKanna Jr. in White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century (Texas Tech University Press, 2005), p108.

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b Accounts of Lt. Mott's death differ very substantially. Here is a contemporaneous report in The Cornell Daily Sun, Apr. 5, 1887; it contradicts the AOG obituary on at least one important point:

Seward Mott '82.

Among the members of the class of '82, few took as much interest in class and college affairs as Seward Mott of Bouckville, N. Y. Although comparatively young when he entered, he took a good rank in his class and an active part in class politics. His intimate friends, particularly his class-mates who were in Delta Upsilon, to which fraternity he belonged, will remember his tenderhearted devotion to those whom he liked and the droll humor which made his company so agreeable. At the end of his Sophomore year he left Cornell to prepare to enter West Point military academy. He finally secured an appointment, and after four years of hard work took his rank in 1886. He was at once commissioned for service and stationed under Captain Pierce at the White Mt. Indian reservation agency in the south eastern part of Arizona. He was detailed to take charge of a body of Indians who were digging ditches and building dams for a system of local irrigation. Two of the Indians became unruly and were put in confinement. This so enraged a son of one of the prisoners that he attacked Lieutenant Mott who was unarmed. The Indian shot Mott before bystanders could come to his rescue. Mott pluckily rode back to the agency, nearly ten miles. His wounds were at first thought slight but they terminated in his death in the early part of March.

William Sparks, The Apache Kid, a Bear Fight and Other True Stories of the Old West (Skelton Publishing, Los Angeles, 1926) is said to have a detailed account of the shooting of Mott, pp20‑21. The book is rare, and I haven't seen it.

Lt. Mott was the son of Samuel R. Mott, founder of a cider company which is still with us as the Mott's brand under the corporate umbrella of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. According to a Utica (NY) Observer-Dispatch review, once online but now with the continued shrinkage of the Web permanently removed, of Sweet Cider Days: A History of Mott's in Bouckville, New York a book by Jim Ford, 2010: "Mott's son Seward Mott was the first town of Madison resident to graduate from West Point, but on his first duty station at the Arizona Territory he was killed by an Apache in 1887. Grieving the loss of his youngest son, Mott then withdrew from the business and instead got into politics." The story is partially confirmed in a brief "Company History" section of the Mott's website.

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Page updated: 31 Mar 18