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Rev Elisha Mitchell

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Rev Elisha Mitchell

  • Birth 19 Aug 1793 Washington, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
  • Death 27 Jun 1857 Eskota, Yancey County, North Carolina, USA
  • Burial Mount Mitchell, Yancey County, North Carolina, USA
  • Plot 1
  • Memorial ID 9910129

Explorer and naturalist of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. He graduated at Yale College in 1813, and was appointed to the chair of mathematics and natural philosophy at the University of North Carolina in 1817. Mitchell was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church in 1821. During times away from the classroom, Mitchell conducted survey's of the local fauna in the Chapel Hill area. Geology also was numbered as one of his interests, and he was later named Professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology. He was named faculty president of UNC following the death of then president, Joseph Caldwell. At times he also served as a justice of the peace and village commissioner for Chapel Hill. The White Mountains in New England were considered the highest in eastern America then. Some of the mountains in NC appeared higher. In 1835, Mitchell (as state surveyor) undertook an expedition to the mountains of western North Carolina. Using a barometer, measurements were taken of various peaks and he determined that the highest mountain peak in the United States, east of the Mississippi River was located in the Black Mountain Range. Other trips in the later 1830's and 1840's confirmed that "Black Dome" was highest. After a public debate with future Confederate general Thomas Clingman, who was one of his former students at UNC, about who measured the peak first, Mitchell returned to the Black Mountains in the summer of 1857 to check his data and take new measurements. While traversing the mountain in the late evening, Mitchell slipped and fell into a waterfall and drowned. He was later credited with the discovery and the mountain was named after him: Mount Mitchell, 6,684 feet. He is buried on the summit near the observation tower. A stone bier/cairn with plaque marks the gravesite.

Family Members


Here lies in the hope of a blessed resurrection the body of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell D.D. who after thirty nine years a professor in the Universtiy of North Carolina lost his life in the scientific exploration of this mountain, in the sixty forth year of his age. June 27 1857

Gravesite Details Grave site rock bier/cairn was rebuilt during 2008 and 2009
  • Created by: Pipedreamer
  • Added: 16 Nov 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9910129
  • Pipedreamer
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Elisha Mitchell (19 Aug 1793–27 Jun 1857), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9910129, citing Reverend Elisha Mitchell Gravesite, Mount Mitchell, Yancey County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Pipedreamer (contributor 46570147) .