Elisha Mitchell.

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32 James Sprunt Historical Monograph

An effort was made by the Kehukey Association to estab-
lish fellowship between the two parties, but the Separatists
refused, complaining- that the Regulars were not strict enougl
in receiving experiences — that the Regulars baptized manj
before they believed — that they indulged their members it
superfluity of dress — but chiefly because they held persons ir
fellowship, who were baptized in unbelief. These were, il
was claimed in reality never baptized at all.

These doctrines brought about a division in the churches
Some were gathered by the Free Will Baptists, whose custom
was to baptize any who were willing, whether they had
experience of grace or not.

In October 1775 when the Kehukry Regular Baptist Asso-
ciation held their meeting at the. Falls of Tar River, a fierce
discussion of these questions was had, the result being s
division in the Association.

In 1786 the two Societies united on the basis (1) that bap-
tism of unbelievers is not valid. (2) Every church member
to be sole judge whether he is baptized in unbelief. (3) Ever}
minister ma}- baptize such as desire, being scrupulous aboui
their former baptism. In 1790 owing to the great increase it
the number of churches, there being 61 with a membership ol
5,017, and also the distance of some from the centre of the
Association, there was a friendly division, 42 churches ir
North Carolina retaining the name of the Kehuke}- Associa-
tion and the 19 churches in Virginia calling themselves the
Virginia Portsmouth Association. Means were provided foi
keeping by interchange of delegates friendly intercourse with
each other.

10 In the early years of his office Governor Martin endeav-
ored to ingratiate himself with the people of the province.
Being the servant of King George it was inevitable however
that the harmony should be disrupted. Probably every man
who voted for this friendly letter became his political enemy.
Tin- clerk of the Association was, as has been mentioned, a
member of the war Congresses and General Assemblies.

11 There were at this time and afterwards vigorous prosely-
ting efforts made by the Universalists. A challenge for a
joint discussion was made by one of their preachers to Elder
Joshua Lawrence, a Baptist of great talent and force of char-
acter. The bulk of the hearers thought that Lawrence had
the best of the argument, but admitted that his opponent was
gifted with oratorical power.


James Sprunt Historical Monograph

No, 6,

of a Geological Tour by Dr. Elisha Mitchell in
1827 and 1828 with Introduction and Notes
by Dr. Kemp P. Battle, LL.D.




James Sprunt Historical Monograph

No. 6*

Diary of a Geological Tour by Dr. Elisha Mitchell in

1827 and 1828 with Introduction and Notes

by Dr. Kemp P Battle, LLD.






Statesville, N. C, Nov. 20, 1903.
Hon. Kemp P. Battle.

Dear Sir: — At the request of my aunt, Miss Margaret Mitch-
ell, I write a note to accompany a package of old letters, sent
by this mail.

In looking - over some hundreds of old family letters, these
records of Grandfather Mitchell's earlier tours in Western
N. C. seemed, perhaps, to have some value for the Historical
Society. They are written with care and method, and are as
he says, of the nature of a diary, in the vacations of 1827 and
1828, and, some, later, giving daily account of travels over
various counties, what mines he looked into, what minerals
and geological features he saw, the kind of lands he passed
over, and the people he met. If they prove to be of any use,
please accept; if not, destroy them. If they reach you, please
acknowledge to Miss Mitchell, at this place.

She heard of the death of her old playmate, and long ti un-
friend, S. F. Phillips. Another break in the band of Mitch-
ells and Phillipses. Four left, Mrs. Ashe, 1 Miss Margaret,
Mrs. Spencer, and Mrs. Laura Phillips. Mrs. Ashe is in
the feeblest health, 81 years old. Miss M. enjoys good health
but is slowly losing her sight, from cataract.


Mrs. W. H. Coit.

The foregoing letter by a granddaughter of Dr. Mitchell
explains the character of the letters now published as No. 6
in the James Sprunt Monograph Series. It is deemed proper
to prefix a short memoir of their author.

Elisha Mitchell was born in Washington, Connecticut,
August 19, 1793. His father, Abner by name, was a farmer.
His mother was Phoebe Eliot, a descendant of the "Apostle

iMiss Margaret Mitchell and Mrs. Mary Ashe have since died.

4 James. Sprunt Historical Monograph.

to the Indians," John Eliot. His grandfather's father, Rev.
Jared Eliot, was eminent in science, and received a medal
from the Royal Society of London for a discovery in the
manufacture of iron. He graduated at Yale College in 1813,
among the highest in scholarship. Among his classmates were
Senator George E. Badger, Dr. Denison Olmstead, Judge
James Longstreet and Thomas P. Devereux, Esq. After teach-
ing in schools for a year or two he became a Tutor in Yale
College and in 1817 on the recommendation of Rev. Mr. Dwight
the Chaplain to the U. S. Senate and of Judge Wm. Gaston,
then member of Congress, he was elected Professor of Mathe-
matics in the University of North Carolina. In 1825 at his
own request he was transferred to the chair of Chemistry,
Geology and Mineralogy, which he held for thirty-two years.
He was twice Chairman of the Faculty, virtual President of
the University — during President Caldwell's visit to Europe
in 1824, and after his death on January 25, 1835, until the
coming of President Swain, January 1st, 1836. Before leaving
Connecticut he obtained license to preach in the Congrega-
tional Church but in 1821 was ordained a minister of the
Presbyterian Church by the Presbytery of Orange, North

The General Assembly in 1822 appropriated $250 a year for
a Geological and Agricultural Survey of the State and in 1826
continued the appropriation for one year longer. Prof. Olm-
stead, and on- his resignation in 1825, Dr. Mitchell was selected
to do the work. A report was made and printed, Parts I and
II by Olmstead, Part III by Mitchell. In 1829 the latter
made another short report. He published also a thin text-
book called "Elements of Geology with an outline of the Geo-
logy of North Carolina." A paper on the "Character and
Origin of the Low Country of North Carolina," is in the Jour-
nal of Science for 1828. He wrote much for newspapers and
for Scientific Journals. Among other pamphlet publications
are two sermons with notes, called "The Other Leaf of the
Book of Nature and the Word of God," giving cogent argu-

Sketch of Dr. MitchclVs Ltfe. 5

merits against the Abolitionists on the Slavery question. The

pamphlet is 74 pages long- and is dated IQ4.S.

Dr. Mitchell read so extensively in many directions as to
acquire the reputation of being possessed of universal know-
ledge. He had a large brain and might have been among the
great men of the world, if he had .confined himself to his

His great self-reliance caused his death. He claimed to
have visited the highest peak of the Black Mountains. Gen-
eral Thomas L. Clingman contended that he himself was the
first discoverer and endeavored to have it called Mount Cling-
man. After a long controversy in the newspapers, Dr. Mitch-
ell determined to ascertain the height by the spirit level, as
he had formerly done by the barometer. On the 27th of June,
1857, leaving the engineering party, he endeavored to ascend
the mountain alone and go down on the Yancey side, in order
to visit one or more of his former guides. Being detained by
a thunderstorm it was late in the afternoon when he began to
descend a fork of Caney river. By the side of a forty-foot
precipice he slipped and fell into a deep pool below. His bodv
was not found until the eighth of July. He was buried in
Asheville, but the next year his family allowed his bodv to be
buried on Mount Mitchell.

For years Dr. Mitchell was one of the most conspicuous
men in the state. As a teacher he was most interesting,
abounding in illustrations, often humorous, which illuminated
the subject. As a preacher he was able and logical but lack-
ing in grace of delivery. As a disciplinarian he was active in
detection and prevention, but mild in punishment. As a
neighbor he was boundless in charity, ready with purse and
wise counsels to aid all w T ho needed help.

His children were four daughters and a son. The son,
Charles, a physician, died in Mississippi without issue. His
daughter Eliza, married to Richard I. Grant, a citizen of
Texas, likewise left no children. His daughter Mary mar-
ried Captain Richard J. Ashe, of the Bethel regiment, a citi-

6 James Sfirunt Historical Monograph.


zen of Chapel Hill and late of California, left children and i
grandchildren, as did his daughter Ellen, who married Dr,
John J. Summerell, of Salisbury. Margaret did not marry.

The letters, while containing allusions of a personal and
family nature, were evidently intended to be material for a
report or an article for a scientific journal.

It is probable that the distress following the Panic of 1825
caused the General Assembly to discontinue the Geological

In annotating I have not deemed it necessary to notice men
about whom nothing is known except what is mentioned in
the text. If any facts of importance are not brought out it is
because I was unable by correspondence to discover them.
Owing to the high rates of postage Dr. Mitchell's penman-
ship is extremely fine, sometimes almost illegible, and it is
possible that I may have been unable to decipher correctly
some words.

I acknowledge my indebtedness to the courtesy and intelli-
gent enquiries of Hon John S. Henderson, of Salisbury, Hon.
C. J. Cowles, of Wilkesboro, Dr. Wm. T. Whitsett, of Whit-
sett, Hon. Alfred M. Scales, of Greensboro, Miss Adelaide
L. Fries, of Salem, Prof. Alexander Graham, of Charlotte,
Messrs. Finley and Hendren, of Wilkesboro, Alfred Nixon,
Esq., of Lincolnton, Thomas C. Bowie, Esq., of Jefferson, R. A.
Nunn, Esq., of Newbern, H. A. Daniels, Esq., of Goldsboro,
Dr. Richard H. Lewis, of Kinston, and Mr. J. R. Lewellyn,
of Dobson.

Kemp P. Battle.


Newbern, Dec. 28th. 1827.
My Dear Maria:

I received today from the post-master your very welcome
letter— "and having - this evening- no other means at hand for
killing the time have concluded to prepare a few lines in
reply." The words included in the commas are such as
according to the general language of mankind in relation to
the state of feeling subsisting between man and wife I ought
to address to you. After writing them down however I can-
not let them stand without connecting with them an assur-
ance that however it may be with others there is at least one
husband who some eight years after marriage is fool enough
to love his wife tenderly and well. I sympathize with Mr.
Phillips and trust that you will pass the vacation without
encountering those evils which Millee Slrowd was threatened
with. In Raleigh I met with little or nothing to interest me.
The Geological Survey dies a natural death at the end of this
year. There is no one who takes any interest in the business,
nor, in the present state of the Treasury, did I find there was
any the least prospect of succeeding in any application to the
legislature and I therefore gave it up at once. I sent you 25
dollars by Dr. Caldwell — at least it was to be paid into his
hands by Mr. Devereaux for you. This you will pay into the
hands of Mr. Cheek or at least sixteen dollars of it, if he gives
up the paper I gave to Mr. Somebody Mi . Lloyd for corn,
but not ehe.

We left Raleigh on Friday about noon and rode to Smith-
field having Mr. Devereaux' in company some of the wa3\ We
put up together at Rice's and passed a pleasant evening. The

'Mr. John Devereaux, merchant of Newbern, father of Thomas P.
Devereaux, who was a Reporter of the Supreme Oourt, and a wealthy
planter on the Roanoke.

S James Sprunt Historical Monograph.

next day proving- rainy Mr. Andrews 1 took the stage for New-
bern and left me to trudge along in the mud by myself. I
rode down to Bass's 2 ferry and paddled about the river a while
in an old crazy canoe to see the limestone about the mouth of
falling creek and then passed on to Waynesboro and put up
at Isaac Hills, — found there a young Lawyer from Orange
who knew me and went with me to see Mrs. Andrews — the
ci-divant Miss Gunn who was married in the meeting house
in Washington the summer you were there — she lives just on
the bank of the Neuse. On Sunday collected a little congre-
gation and held forth to them at the tavern. Drs. Williams
and Tippoo Henderson 3 and Morris called upon me. And of
them all I liked Dr. Williams the least. Took my tea and
spent the evening at Dr. Andrews/ Monday morning crossed
the Neuse and got my breakfast at Mr. Griswolds 5 where I
spent some time in examining the limestone on the bank.
Griswold is a Yankee boy who came from Rocky Hill to Car-
olina as he married a girl of some property — failed — and now
lives in rather humble style in Wa}ne. He does not appear
to be efficient and I doubt his wife regrets her having married
a Yankee; rode down to the river and put up at Stephen
Herrings in Lenoir — a hearty droll old cock who told me how
extravagant the storm had been about Wilmington and how

lEthan A. Andrews, Professor of Ancient Languages in U. of N.C.,
1822 to 1828. He afterward taught in New England and was author of
valuable classical school books.

2Name extinct Andrew Bass in 1784 gave three acres in Waynesboro
for a court house, &c. He doubtless gave the name to the ferry — Falling
Creek is still so called. ,

^Tippoo Saib Henderson was a son of Major Pleasant Henderson, of
Chapel Hill. He graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1814.

4Dr. Samuel Andrews kept a tavern at Waynesboro for many years.
One son. Rev. S G. Andrews, was a colonel in the O. S. A.; another,
George P. Andrews, was a colonel in the U. S. Army; a third, Rev. F.
John Andrews, was a gifted Methodist preacher; and a fourth is a local
Methodist preacher.

SJames Griswold, long clerk and master in equity for Wayne county.

Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 9

fortunate the Messrs. Whitfield 1 had been about marrying,
each of them having buried 3 or 4 wives. Tuesday rode
through a desolate country — the western part of Jones —
entered Onslow where the appearances improved — crossed the
rich lands of that county and put up at old Kit Dudley's 2 on
the east side of New River at the head of Navigation 5 or 6
miles from the court house N. East. A violent Jackson man.
Deist, very rich, offensive and talkative. Mrs. Hill his daugh-
ter was there and agreeable. The old fellow entertained me
hospitably but I had some difficulty in maintaining my inde-
pendence without quarrelling with him. I fear indeed I
hardlv did my duty to him so far as religion is concerned but
I was restrained by the circumstance of his being apparently
petulant thro the effect of a recent illness.

Wednesday, had a stroll over the plantation before break-
fast, and after breakfast then my horse was to be got ready,
found that the fellow apprehending I had not done my busi-
ness faithfully had gone on an exploring expedition so that I
did not start till it was late. Rode down to Col. Dulanys 3 or
rather to his son in law's on New River for the Col. a very
worthy man, abides with his daughter— got my dinner
— rode out to see New River and then passed down to
Swansboro at the mouth of White Oak on the sound — a village
of 4 tolerable houses and some smaller ones. I expected to

iTwo Whitfields lived near Waynesboro, Samuel and William. Samuel
was father of the first wife of Mr. E. B. Borden. William moved to
Mexico and owned a large coffee plantation.

The removal of the county seat from Waynesboro to Goldsboro was
authorized by Act of the General Assembly. The exodus of people
and houses was from 1837 to 1854. Mr. Richard Washington was
the last inhabitant of Waynesboro. Flat boats and small steamers plied
between it and Newborn.

20hristopher Dudley, seven times Senator from Onslow, father of
Edward B. Dudley, Representative in Congress 1835 — , and Governor
1836- '40 — the first elected by the people.

3Col. Daniel B. Dulany, Representative in the General Assembly, 1820-
1821 and 1822.

10 James S f runt Historical Monagraph.

stay with Mr. Ferrand 1 who is the principal man of the place'
but, observing - that he had company, rode down to Thompsons'
— a tolerable house in appearance, where, whilst the yankee
landlord and his Carolina wife and sister set before me an in-
different supper and breakfast, he congratulated me in sound-
ing terms on the escape I had made in not going to Onslow
Court house where I should have had another fare.

Thursday. I intended to cross White Oak and proceed to
Beaufort but, considering that I should have nothing to pass
over during the day but uninteresting sands, and that the
country from Beaufort up would possess as little interesting,
I turned my horse for Newbern. Country flat and barren till
I came near Trent River. Saw slate rock in the bed of White j
Oak when I crossed it and also in two or three places near the
Trent and arrived here after dark. Friday, proposed to go ',
back into Jones County to examine the shells on Durant
Hatch's" plantation but finally gave up the plan and concluded
to stay in Newbern till Monday next. Have been today stroll-
ing about town — have looked up some books for the girls,
dined with Mrs Shepard 3 — called upon Mrs. Brown 4 this even-
ing. She is not in the least altered that I can see, has now a
most beautiful little boy on hand. On Monday D. V. we

i\Vm. P. Ferrand, Representative in the General Assembly, 1826.

2Durant Hatch was State Senator fifteen terms; also a Trustee of the
University. Shell rock is still obtained from his plantation, which is now
mostly owned by Mr. James A. Jones of Newbern.

3Mrs Shepard, nee Blount, grand daughter of Sir Frederick Blount.
She was widow of Wm. Shepard, a wealthy merchant, and grandmother,
among others, of Gen. J. J. Pettigrew, Judge Henry R. Bryan, Judge
Wm. S. Bryan, of the Supreme Court of Maryland, and Mrs. Mary S.
Speight, a benefactor of of the University.

•*Mrs. Silvester Brown. Their son. Silvester Tilman, was father of Judge
Brown of the Supreme Court. The "beautiful little boy" turned out to be
a very fine looking old man. He was a student of U. N. O. in 1841-'42.
Mrs Brown's maiden name was Hannah Holladay, of a Green County
family. She had another sou at the University l831-'35, who was a phy-

Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 11

started for Washing-ton — I suppose at least that Mr. Andrews
will be in company -pass up the Tar — -and so get home — about
which same place I have a few things to say. It seems that a
great deal of pork has been lost the whole country through.
Mr. Barbee, and much more Mr. Robson, therefore must not
bring his hogs till the weather is cool'. Cut them up immedi-
ately and spread them. They are not to be salted till quite
cold but when this is the case there should be as little delay as
possible. If the Journal of Science comes and the extra sheets
— retain all said sheets. I will distribute them myself instead
of placing them at the disposal of the Board.

I am pleased with the accounts from N. London and Wash-
ington in regard to brother Elnathan though I have no great
expectation that there will be any very favorable result. I
hope he ma}* stay in N. London a while and make a trial. I
hardly think you will hear from me again till I come home —
perhaps you may. Messrs. Andrews and Treadwell 2 having
been here some 4 or 5 days before me, have forestalled most of
the civilities of the good people of the place. I called upon
Mr. Stanly to-day. The stage waits. Adieu.

E. Mitchell.

The above is a lie. The stage did not wait but was off a
mile when Mr. Andrews and I came down with our letters.
My carry-all is ordered and we start for Washington.


E. M.

1T Jp to the Civil War families in towns bought hogs freshly slaughtered,
cut them up and "cured" the hams, shoulders and sides for the year's con-
sumption. Near the dwelling was the smoke-house in which they were
exposed to thick smoke for many days. Much loss was sometimes had
from rapid change of temperature from cold to heat. A warm winter is
on record, in which hundreds of thousands of pounds of pork were de-

201iver Wolcott Treadwell, of Connecticut, graduate of U. N. O. 1826;
Tutor, 1826-'9. "Mr. Andrews" is Prof Ethan A. Andrews,

12 James Sf runt Historical Monograph.

Hines's, 11 Miles West of Salem, 7 miles East of the Shallow j
Ford or Huntsville, Wednesday Evening-, July, 1828.

My Dear and Good Wife:

I did intend to write a few lines for you last night at Greens-
boro, but after rummaging- the trunk sometime, could find no
quills for the very obvious reason that they were directly be-
fore my eyes. I have two methods of keeping a journal to
choose from. One, that of noting- down in my memorandum
book whatever may occur worthy of observation; the other of
introducing the same matter into my letter to you. My
Epistles filled with Mineralogical and Geological details are in
danger of becoming in this way so dull that you will care
nothing about them. But what else shall I write about? Tis
altogether out of the question — a man who has not yet been
separated from his wife quite two days to fall to sighing and
wooing as though he was now experiencing the first access of
his maiden passion.

My present trip, if matters hold as they are, is likely to
prove in one respect more agreeable than those which have
preceeded. The aspect of the country is delightful. People
talk of fine prospects, and I believe I have an eye to distin-
guish, and a soul to feel them. But, after all, there is no
prospect like that of a country covered with luxuriant vegeta-
tion, that is going to pour of its abundance into the granaries
of its cultivator. The mind is carried forward to the peace,
security, and happiness that are to result to the poor as well
as to the rich, when heaven pours out its bounties with so un-
sparing a hand. What a contrast between the appearance of
the fields now and what they were two years ago. The wheat
is gathered in and is therefore wanting to the unvarying land-
scape which Levi' and I enjoyed together, but the oats still
cover the fields, and it is difficult to persuade ones-self when

iLevi must have been his horse's name. He was too independent to
have a driver and I know of no one of that name likely to have been hi?

Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 13

We see the Indian corn of so deep a green; its growth so vig-
orous; shooting up towards the clear sky, and bathed in the
balm}- air and the sunbeams — It is difficult to persuade one-
self, that it is not positively happy. And I can hardty help
congratulating the trees of the forest, as I ride along on the
beautif ulness of the year under the idea that they prefer it such
as it is to a dry and dusty summer. But the daylight is fad-
ing, and I do not know whether Mrs. Hines will let me have a
candle, and must therefore, improve the moments to make a
few memoranda. The latter part of my ride to Breeses 1 was
dark, but on the whole it was not disagreeable. Started early
on Tuesday morning and rode 24 miles to Joseph Gibson's* to
breakfast. The slate continued until I reached Judge Mur-
phy's - , where it was gradually replaced by some half baked
granite. Found Breccia a little before I got to the stone tav-
ern, but scarce— Afterwards, 18 miles from Chapel Hill, one
James Johnston has been digging a well which goes through
a slate rock that is full of small crystals of pyrites. The slaty
structure is much more found in many of the rocks of this
region. The bank of the river at Murphy's mill is covered
with grains of sand that have been brought down from the
rocks miles above. From Judge Murphy's to where I entered
the Hillsboro and Greensboro road near Kphraim Cooks there
is little bit the imperfect granite. It produces rather a cold
black, sticky soil. The road from Cook's to Greensboro I
travelled last year. For a mile and a half from Cook's the
rocks are slat}*; in one place in the right of the road there ap-

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