Elisha Mitchell lies buried at the summit, a fitting resting place for a professor of geology. In 1828, during a survey of North Carolina, he observed a peak he believed to be higher than Grandfather Mountain. His subsequent measurements showed it was higher than Mount Washington in New Hampshire. In 1857 he fell to his death while attempting to verify his measurements, which had been challenged by state senator Thomas Clingman, a former student of Mitchell's. He was reinterred in a tomb on the mountain in 1858, and in 1881-1882 the U.S. Geological Survey upheld his measurements and officially named the peak Mount Mitchell.
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