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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/418

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

real measurement 6,677 feet, nearly what lie obtained (6,672 feet) in 1844. Prof. Guyot, in 1856, obtained a height of 6,701 feet.

Doubts afterward rose in Prof. Mitchell's mind whether the peak he climbed in 1835 was the true summit of the mountain. A new measurement of Mount Washington had been made, which seemed to add to its reported height and lift it above Mitchell's Peak. Dr. Mitchell revisited the mountain in 1838, and determined in 1844 to make a new survey and measurement. He obtained a Gay Lussac mountain barometer from Paris, took William Kiddle as his guide, and, making Asheville his base for comparison, found the height 6,672 feet. The identity of the peak visited this time was afterward called in question by other parties, but Prof. Mitchell himself never doubted that he had been on the right spot. He wrote in the summer of 1856, "I stood upon the highest peak some days since, and could then distinguish the ridges over which my guide, William Riddle, taking as nearly as he could a straight, or, as it happened, a diagonal direction across them from the neighborhood of the Green Ponds, led me directly to the peak we were in search of."

After the survey of 1844, the Hon. Thomas L. Clingman put forth a claim to having been the first to measure the real culminating point of the Black Mountain, and undertook to prove that Prof. Mitchell had been mistaken in the mountain which he measured. The question thus raised was the subject of an active controversy for several years. The highest mountain was called Clingman's Peak, and Prof. Mitchell's name was transferred to the peak which was described in his diary of 1835 as "a round three-knobby knob, equal to the highest," which he had never assumed to climb or to measure. It was as much to settle this dispute as for the sake of more accurate measurement that Prof. Mitchell made his fifth visit to the mountain in 1857, in which he lost his life. The question was investigated by his friends after his death, when all the accessible evidence was collected and compared, and his priority in measuring the peak, and the identity of the mountain he measured in 1835 with the real highest point, seem to have been satisfactorily established. In evidence to support his claim, Prof. Phillips brought forward the notes in his diary of 1835 and their exact correspondence with Prof. Guyot's profile; the testimony of William Wilson, one of the guides who went up with him, and who gave in his certificate a correct description of the topography of the summit, and of Nathaniel Allen, son of Adoniram Allen, the other guide, deceased, who said that his father had always spoken of that peak as the one which he ascended with Prof. Mitchell; the certificate of four citizens who accompanied William Wilson in September, 1857, while he retraced the steps of the ascent of 1835; the testimony of numerous