Hiram G. Hotchkiss was born in Oneida County, New York, on June 19, 1810. His father, Leman Hotchkiss, moved the family to Phelps, Ontario County, New York, in 1811 and became the pioneer merchant of that region. Upon his death, Hiram and
his brother Leman managed the business. After expanding their milling operation, Hiram began to develop an essential oil industry. Hiram moved to Lyons, New York, in 1843, where he began cultivating peppermint, and gradually gained control over the farm supply of mint and over the oil market. Leman remained in Phelps, and carried on his
own oil business. Both had general stores, dealt in wheat, flour and produce, and established banks in their respective towns. Hiram became a powerful businessman, controlling prices of western peppermint crops and successfully marketing his product in the United States and Europe. His essential oils garnered many awards, including first
prize medals at world's fairs and exhibitions held in England, Germany, America, France and Austria. Hiram Hotchkiss died in 1898, and his sons Calvin and Hiram Jr., took over the business.