Sam Ragan was one of North Carolina’s leading men of letters. A North Carolina Poet Laureate, the first secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, and first chairman of the North Carolina Arts Council, Ragan understood the creative spirit of Weymouth and continued the literary traditions of James Boyd.
In 1969, Ragan purchased the Southern Pines Pilot newspaper from Katharine Boyd and, after Katharine’s death, became active in the campaign to save the Boyd estate as a unique center for creative artists. The Friends of Weymouth was chartered as a nonprofit corporation in 1977. Contributors and supporters across Moore County and statewide were involved in the campaign to raise $700,000 for the purchase of the estate. In 1979, the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities was dedicated, it’s purpose to support the creative spirit and human aspirations for the good life. The Boyd House and remaining acreage is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was awarded a certificate of achievement by the National Wildlife Federation in 2003.
Under Ragan’s direction, the first program initiated at Weymouth was a residency for writers, which continues today. In the early 1990s, Ragan began advocating for the creation of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame to recognize the state’s extraordinary writers. Under his leadership, the Literary Hall of Fame was established in 1996 and located in the James Boyd Study at the Weymouth Center. Ragan was inducted to the Literary Hall of Fame in 1997, the year after his death. Ragan is remembered today as North Carolina’s “literary godfather.” Each year in March, the North Carolina Poetry Society celebrates Sam Ragan Day at the Weymouth Center, bringing together poets throughout the state.