Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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McDOWELL, Silas, author, born in York district, South Carolina, 16 May, 1795; died in Macon county, North Carolina, 14 July, 1879. He was left an orphan at an early age, and his life was one of hardship. For a short time he was a student at the Newton academy, Buncombe County, South Carolina, working to pay for his tuition, and he subsequently apprenticed himself to a tailor, he worked at this trade for ten years in North Carolina, but in 1830 removed to a farm in Macon county and served as clerk in the superior court for sixteen years, and as clerk and master in equity for five years. He was a devoted student of nature, giving much time to geology, mineralogy, and botany. His sketch, "Above the Clouds," was extensively copied in journals in 1829, and was followed by others that described North Carolina mountain scenery. He also wrote articles upon pomology, horticulture, sheep-husbandry, and cheese-making, and a paper upon the "Theory of the Thermal Zone," printed in the "General Agricultural Reports" (Washington, 1861).
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