north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     Sidney Weller was born in 1791 in what was then known as Montgomery, New York. In 1820 Weller earned a masters degree from Union College in Schenectady and entered the education field as a principal at a private academy. He married Laura Maria Meacham, who died in 1826. Weller had begun seminary in 1824 and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. He and his second wife, Elizabeth McCarrel, moved to Virginia in 1828 and then further south to Halifax County, North Carolina.

     In 1829 Weller purchased about three hundred acres of farm land for $1.50 per acre. Although the land was of poor quality, Weller was a self-proclaimed “book farmer” who read about and experimented with new farming methods. He subscribed to sundry farm journals and wrote many articles for them. Weller established an academy at Brinkleyville shortly after his purchase of the farm, but he appears to have abandoned his aspirations in the field of education in favor of agriculture by about 1833. His methods were revolutionary at a time when throngs of North Carolinians were moving southwest in search of more fertile lands. Weller was an advocate of crop rotation, plant propagation, and enriching soil through creative plantings and waste matter.

     Among his innovative ventures, Weller established a vineyard, which by 1840 was the state’s largest. At the time, North Carolina was the leading wine producer in the Union. In 1850 Weller boasted of cultivating over two hundred types of grapes, although he concentrated on Scuppernong and other native varieties. Two years later Weller helped cultivate a different sort of legacy in North Carolina—the State Agricultural Society and the State Fair. He died at his home on March 1, 1854. Charles and F. M. Garrett, of a nearby farm, purchased Weller’s vineyard and expanded it to New York and California, pioneering wine production in those states. Weller’s property is now Medoc Mountain State Park. Weller himself named the area Medoc Mountain after a province in Bordeaux, France, famous for its vineyards.

Mortimer Oldham Heath, Sketches in North Carolina USA 1872-1878: Vineyard Scenes by Mortimer O. Heath (2001)
North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, web page for Medoc Mountain State Park:
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources