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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/417

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SKETCH OF ELISHA MITCHELL.

mony of witnesses in an article which Prof. Charles Phillips contributed to the North Carolina University Magazine for March, 1858. Having made some observations of the geological formations of the Grandfather Mountain, and measured some heights near Morganton, Prof. Mitchell crossed the Blue Ridge and fixed his headquarters at Bakersville, in Yancey County, near the foot of Roan Mountain. Hence he made several excursions in a country which was then nearly in the condition of the primitive wilderness. Being told that Yeates's Mountain was the highest of the group, he climbed it, accompanied by two guides, on the 27th of July, 1835—a day so clear and serene "that all the main eminences of the Black were clearly visible." He found that this mountain was overtopped by several of the peaks around it, the most of which confronted him in an arc so curved that it was easy to decide which of them was the highest. He made the entry: "Top of Yeates's knob; N. E. knob of Black bore N. 463/4 E. Counting from Young's knob: one low one; one low one; two in one, the southernmost pointed; a round knob, same height; a double knob; then the highest; then a long, low place with a knob in it; then a round three-knobby knob, equal to the highest, after which the ridge descends." This verbal account tallies exactly with a profile of the range drawn by Prof. Guyot when standing on the same Yeates's Peak in 1856. On the next day, July 28th, Prof. Mitchell and his guides visited the peak which had been determined by the Yeates's Mountain observation to be the highest; according to the testimony of the guide, William Wilson, they "came to the top at a small glade, not more than a quarter of an acre in extent, and, turning to the right, not more than one hundred and fifty yards, we arrived on the top of the main highest peak, being the same one as we thought that we had selected from Yeates's knob the day before. Then Dr. Mitchell climbed into the highest balsam he could find, and took his observations. After consulting his barometer, he said that it was the highest point that he had found yet."

Some of the immediate results of the excursions from Bakersville, including geological and botanical observations, were published in the Raleigh Register of November 3, 1835. The height of the mountain was calculated as compared with that of Morganton, which was then supposed to be 968 feet above the sea. The mountain being found to be 5,508 feet above that point, its height was given as 6,476 feet, or 200 feet less than the real height. The discrepancy became afterward a source of confusion, and has been used to support the allegation that the peak Dr. Mitchell climbed that day was not the real highest peak. But it was explained and vanished when the railroad surveys showed that Morganton depot is really 1,169 feet high. This would make Prof. Mitchell's