Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MITCHELL, Elisha, educator, born in Washington, Connecticut, 19 August, 1793; died on Black mountain, North Carolina, 27 June, 1857. He was graduated at Yale in 1813, and after teaching on Long Island returned to Yale as a tutor. In 1817 he was called to the chair of mathematics and natural philosophy in the University of North Carolina, but first spent, some months in Andover theological seminary, and after being licensed to preach entered on his work at Chapel Hill in January, 1818. He was ordained 1)y the presbytery of Hillsborough, North Carolina, in August, 1821, and in 1825 was transferred to the professorship of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology, which he filled until his death. During many years he held the office of state surveyor, and in that capacity visited the principal mountains of that state. His observations showed that the highest mountains in the United States east of the Rocky mountains are those of North Carolina. Black Dome, or Mitchell's High peak, he found to be the highest of the group, and while endeavoring to ascertain its exact altitude he was overtaken by a storm, and falling over a precipice into a pool was drowned. His body was first taken to Asheville for burial, but in 1858, in response to the desires of the mountaineers, it was re-entombed on the highest point of the mountain, and his last resting place is shown in the accompanying illustration. A large number of citizens were present, and Bishop Otey, of Tennessee, pronounced the funeral oration, he received the degree of D. D. from the University of Alabama in 1838, and contributed various articles to the "American Journal of Science." He also published reports on the geology of North Carolina (1826-'7), and "Elements of Geology, with an Outline of the Geology of North Carolina" (1842). The Elisha Mitchell scientific society of the University of North Carolina has recently been established at Chapel Hill in his honor.
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