CECIL COUNTY — Homes of a certain age in this county sometimes have grape vines in the back yard, which seem to spring up out of nowhere. In the Dec. 25, 1869 edition of The Cecil Whig, two prominent growers issue a call to action for a grape growers society which may get at the root of this trend.
“Knowing that you always take a lively interest in anything that promotes the welfare of the farming community in Maryland, I would draw your attention to one branch of horticulture, to which I think our State is very well adapted, but which so far, has been neglected. It is the growing of that delicious fruit, the Grape. This is so much more to be wondered at, as in the West, Northwest, South and even North of us, the liveliest interest is taken at present, in the growing of Grapes, and wine making; and the day is not far distant, when wine will be exported, instead as at present imported; but that will not be all. When good wholesome light wine can be sold at such low figures, that every laboring man can drink it, those poisonous intoxicating drugs, that now bring to many families, misery and poverty, will, like all other wine growing communities, cease to be the curse of the country.
Why is it then, that our Maryland farmers have been so remiss in this branch of agriculture? I have no doubt that the many failures, in raising grapes has been the cause. The only grapes heretofore grown for wine, was the Catawba. They were more of Southern origin and unsuited to the Middle States and further North. They require a higher mean temperature, in June, July, August and September, than we usually have, even in the Middle States, but now we have instead of one, many valuable varieties, largely grown from the Ohio River to Lake Erie. Now, we have to learn which of them are suited to the different climates, soils, and aspects and we have also to discover the treatment, in general, of each kind. I visited in the beginning of last September, the vineyard of seventeen acres of Mr. Edward P. Hipple (a very intelligent grape grower,) at Town Point, Cecil, county, Maryland, who has twelve acres of Concords, the third year from planting, and therefore not yet in full bearing.
They were loaded with the finest hunches of grapes, I have ever seen, many hunches weighing over ten ounces. I understand that he has picked from those twelve acres, over twenty thousand pounds of grapes, which were sold principally in the New York market, and some were made into wine. I have traveled for the last twenty six years, twice in each year, through the West, and have seen many vineyards, particularly in Ohio and Missouri, but i have yet to see a finer vineyard, with better developed and ripened grapes, than the one at Town Point. I have also seen and tasted some Delaware Grapes, raised near Owings Mills, Baltimore county, which excelled by far, any i ever saw in the West. This confirms my ideas, that Maryland is as good if not a better State for grapes, than any in the West.
All we want is to find, which of the many kinds will do best for our climate, soil and situations, and the mode of culture of each. To that end it is necessary, that all the grape growers of our State, and the adjoining counties of Virginia, should be brought often together, to exchange their experience and ideas of grape growing. To that end, you, Messers. Editors, and the Agricultural papers of Baltimore and other places, could aid them very much by calling on all those engaged in this interesting branch of horticulture in our State, to send their names, either to Mr. Edward P. Hipple, Town Point, Cecil Co., Md., or to me, with a view to getting up a grape growers society, like they have now in every Stale in the West, and in almost every county.
I would also advise all, to subscribe to the Grape Culturist, edited by George Hussmann, St. Louis, Mo., wherein they will find already, some interesting articles from Mr. Hipple, and a Mr. Charles F. Schmidt, of Baltimore. Should you be willing to aid the farmers of Maryland in getting up a lively interest in favor of grape growing, you would confer a great favor.
I have already planted seven acres of Concords, Clintons, Delawares, Cassidy’s Ives Seedlings, Hartford Prolifics, Salems, and others of Rogers Seedlings and Martha’s and have purchased Virginia Seedling, Cynthiana and Herbemonts for next spring planting.
Very respectfully, your obd’t sev’t.
Pikesville, Baltimore County, Md. Grape Growers Association for Maryland.”
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