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Central Mercedita
Ponce

 
Date Established: 1895
Date Ceased Operations: 1994
Annual Production Graph
Average Annual Production: 39,317 Tons
Best Production Year: 1950/89,379 Tons
Family Ownership: Serrallés
 
The Hacienda Mercedita was established in 1861 by Sebastian Serrallés, a Spanish immigrant from Catalonia who arrrived in Puerto rico in 1842.  Originally it had an oxen driven mill but by 1869 a steam mill acquired from Mirrlees, Tait, Watson & Co. in Scotland was installed.  By 1880 it consisted of 859 "cuerdas" according to historian Andres Ramos Mattei.  By 1890 Sebastian's and his son Juan Eugenio Serrallés Colón  (1845-1921) holdings consisted of 3,000 "cuerdas" including leased properties.  In addition to Mercedita, other haciendas owned or controlled by the Serrallés were: Coto, Teresa, Laurel, Fé, Ursula and Destierro.
 
Mercedita came to be the largest family owned sugar mill on the island.  In 1926 the Serrallés family started the Porto Rican American Refinery to refine "Snow White" brand sugar.  They also established Destileria Serrallés, Inc. to distill  Don Q Rum  which to this day is the rum of choice for most Puerto Ricans. 
 
The mill had its own land for growing sugarcane but also had a number of independent land growers or "colonos" that grew sugar along the southern coast of the island.  It had its own railroad system, one of the locomotives is pictured below.  It was one of the longest running sugar mills on the island.
 
During the last quarter of the 19th Century, in addition to Mercedita,  Juan Eugenio Serrallés Colón also owned and operated a sugar mill named Puerto Rico in the Dominican Republic.  This sugar mill closed down in 1913 and its land use converted to a cattle farm known as Las Cabuyas.  One of Juan Eugenio's son; Jorge Juan Serrallés Pérez remained in the Dominican Republic in charge of the operations there.
 
Although the mill and the refinery are not in operation any longer, the family continues the distilling of rum in part of the premises.  As told to us, they are currently working on planting sugarcane and installing modern machinery and equipment to produce molasses for their rum distilling operation in part of the existing structures pictured herein.