LIFE OF NICHOLAS LAURENT MICHEL HERBEMONT

1771 Born in Joncheres in the Champagne district in 1771 where he learns viticulture.
1793 Flees to the United States during France’s Revolutionary terror, supporting himself as a French Instructor in the Pittsburgh Academy.
1800 Moves to South Carolina and translates Jean-Louis Dubroca's Vie de Toussaint Louverture into English, attracting the notice of the great planters whose anxieties about the Haitian Revolution prompted them to engineer his appointment as the first French instructor at the new organized College of South Carolina.
1805 Moves to the state capital in Columbia.
1807 Meets and marries the wealthy widow Carolina Neylor Smythe and teaches his first classes at the College.
1809 Herbemont plants his first grape vines in a garden that comprised an entire city block in the center of Columbia. Shortly thereafter he discovers the Herbemont Madeira grape growing in a neighbors plantation and begins experimenting with it.
1814 Bottles his first private vintage in 1814.
1816 Plants a six-acre vineyard, “Palmyra,” at eight mile branch in the Sand Hills of Richland County, SC.
1818 With four friends organizes the South Carolina Agricultural Society, and served as chair of its “board of curators.”
1819 Begins the systematic grafting of vine cuttings to native grape root stocks.
1822 Travels to France to secure cuttings from 320 different grape varieties, but to his great disappointment less than 30 prove viable when planted in Carolina. After the failure of the Denmark Vesey slave insurrection that year, Herbement publishes Observations on the late Occurrences in Charleston, calling for the end of the slave system and the state subvention of a scheme to make the sand hills of central South Carolina a wind growing region.
1823 Releases his first vintage for public consumption. His success led to his appointment to the state’s Board of Public Works, a body he eventually chaired.
1827 During the Tariff Crisis of 1827-28, he proposes the abandonment of cotton culture and the state sponsorship of large scale grape cultivation conducted by immigrant Swiss viticulturists. His plan fails by a single vote in the senate committee.
1828 His failure prompts his energetic entry into the world of agricultural letters where for the next decade he publishes he many tracts and letters on grape growing, wine making, grafting, agronomy, and manures made him among the most vocal figures in 1830s American agriculture. Wins the gold medal of the S. C. Agricultural Society.
1832 The American Farmer, the country’s premier agricultural magazine, declares Herbemont’s wines the finest American wines ever produced in the U.S.A.
1834 Contracts malaria, forcing him to scale back his experiments. Nevertheless, in the laste five years of life, he creates the Herbemont Mulberry, for use as hog feed, the Musk Cluster Rose (a blush Noissette rose that enjoyed great popularity), experimented with rammed earth building, and chaired the governing board of the state lunatic asylum.
1839 Dies a national celebrity in agricultural circles and a revered citizen of South Carolina. Buried in Trinity Episcopal Church, Columbia, SC.