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Old 01-06-2020, 05:15 PM   #1
Makwa
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ADK High Peaks Names/Graves Project

I usually spend most of my time over on the High Peaks Forum but given the topic I figured my post might fit in with Adirondack History & Folklore so I cross-posted here as well. Hope you find the information of some interest.

Currently, twenty-four of the Adirondack High Peaks are named after twenty-three different people. Most are illustrious political figures from bygone eras, influential individuals in the history of the region, or little known folks who briefly spent time in the Adirondacks over 150 years ago. You've climbed the mountains that were named in their honor. You may even be familiar with the exploits of Bob Marshall, Orson Phelps, Verplanck Colvin, or Mills Blake. Or perhaps you corresponded with Grace Hudowalski while you were an aspiring 46er or even knew her personally. The rest are names relegated to the pages of dusty old history books. You've probably read the brief one-sentence bios on them in a guidebook but can only vaguely remember whether they were a politician, author, some sort of scientist, or a crusty old Adirondack guide. I'll guess you really never thought of what happened to them after their professional careers ended or gave any thought to how they died or where they were buried. Oddly, I have.

This past weekend I finally completed an Adirondack historical project that I have been working on for the last five years. It all started in the fall of 2014 when I decided to take a drive through Albany Rural Cemetery which is just a few miles from where I live here in the Capital District. President Chester A. Arthur is buried there and I hadn't been to his gravesite in ages. That was my main reason for visiting but before setting out I gave a quick scan of who else was buried in the cemetery. William L. Marcy jumped off the page at me and I had one of those light bulb over the head moments. Maybe I could find and visit the graves of all of the people for whom the Adirondack High Peaks were named for. And so the project was born.

I won't bore you with all the details of my research. Let's just say several of the people were very difficult to track down given I was only armed with a few historical references to who some of them even were. Complicating matters was that most of them died 100-150 years ago. I wasn't new to researching such information or visiting cemeteries. On my list of various hobbies visiting old cemeteries probably ranks somewhere down around 15th or so but I do find them fascinating. How people are buried tells you a lot about how they lived. I've been to maybe a hundred different cemeteries over the past few decades, generally when I'm traveling somewhere on vacation or driving through a town where somebody famous is buried. There's always something interesting to be found or a story to be told.

So my master list includes the twenty-three people whose names are currently attached to a High Peak: Allen, Armstrong, Blake, Colden, Colvin, Dix, Donaldson, Emmons, Esther, Grace, Gray, Hough, Macomb, Marcy, Marshall, Nye, Phelps, Porter, Redfield, Seward, Seymour, Street, and Wright.

And in an effort to have a complete a list as possible I also identified, researched, and found the graves of those people who high peaks were once named for and later changed, names used locally but never officially designated, a few disputed names, and one used by local Native Americans. I didn't get too deep into the weeds with names that may have appeared on one map from one source 150 or 200 years ago. I generally stuck to widely accepted use for a period of time as my cut-off point. That added nine more names to the list. Here are those people with the old/local/disputed mountain name in bold and the present day mountains that their names were once attached to in italics:

Russell Carson - South Dix
Herbert Clark - Marshall
DeWitt Clinton - Marshall
George Marshall - Hough
Archibald McIntyre - Wright, Algonquin, and Marshall
Duncan McMartin - Colden
King Hendrick Theyanoguin for Thei-A-No-Guen (Whitehead) - Whiteface
Sabael Benedict - for Sebille now Colvin
Sabael (Lewis Elijah Benedict) - also for Sebille now Colvin

Through my research I was able to locate all of the twenty-eight known grave sites of these thirty-two individuals and have visited and photographically documented each one. This quest has taken me to a few dozen different cemeteries all over the northeast and as far away as Washington DC.

As for the four unknown sites... unfortunately, Esther, Sabael Benedict, King Hendrick, and George Marshall have been impossible to locate. King Hendrick was killed in the Bloody Morning Scout during the French & Indian War and is believed to be buried where he fell (on present day Route 9 between Exit 20 & 21 of the Northway). Sabael Benedict (aka just "Sabael") met with foul play somewhere near Puffer Pond southeast of the town of Indian Lake, and George Marshall was cremated upon his passing. I've visited the purported sites of the King Hendrick and Sabael deaths but obviously wasn't able to pinpoint the exact locations of their burials, and I'm certainly not going to bother the Marshall family regarding George.

So that leaves Esther. Poor Esther. I hate to disappoint all of you but the tale of Esther McComb may just be apocryphal. The short story on this is that no researcher or historian can positively confirm her existence. This was covered at length in "The Lure of Esther" by Sandra Weber and "Heaven Up'Histed'ness" by the 46ers. I won't go into much detail other than I trusted the research others had done and did not go on the wild goose chase of trying to find her myself. The tale is great. The mythology will live on but there probably never was an Esther. Therefore, I have no burial information for her though her name remains on my list. I'm just going to count the summit plaque on the mountain named in her honor as my documentation.

One last note on the list... I have included both the father (Sabael) and the son (Lewis Elijah Benedict) on the list because it's not exactly clear to me which one Sebille was named for though I'm leaning toward the father. Also, the name Sebille was used informally but I chose to include it because the stories behind these two individuals are so interesting.

So phase one is complete. But is there a phase two of doing something with all of the information I have gathered? Honestly, I'm not sure. Perhaps I could write a book? Between all the pictures, cemetery maps, information on the burials, and some interesting stories on the later lives of these people I probably could put together 100-150 pages rather easily. But it is such a niche topic who would buy or read such a book? Or maybe I'll throw the info out there on a web site? At the very least I'll write it all up in some form. At least one County Historian I spoke with expressed interest in having a copy of my completed research. Perhaps others would as well. But I thought I'd share the abridged version of my work here first.

If anybody notices a glaring omission or error on my part please let me know. I believe I have identified all of the relevant names/people but it's possible I have not. I won't be insulted with any corrections or additions you all might suggest. PLEASE message me if you discover something I missed. If anybody wants specific directions to any of the graves I would be happy to share the information. Just shoot me a message.

Link to a Google Photos album of all of the graves. A few pics per name...
https://photos.app.goo.gl/G55xkjn5oTb79uYUA

And for those who wish to continue reading on the subject here are some highlights of what I found along the way. Just a few stories and pieces of trivia that might interest you...

I have shared the story on the forum in the past about the time I cleaned the headstone of Old Mountain Phelps (https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...f-orson-phelps). Out of respect for the folks who live next to the cemetery I will not share exact directions to get there but it was the most difficult cemetery to find out of all of the ones on the list.

The story of Verplanck Colvin's death and burial are a bit heart-breaking. It ties in with his lifelong friendship with Mills Blake who he knew since childhood. Colvin enlisted Blake's help with the Adirondack Survey and the two men worked, and lived, together until Colvin's death. Blake took care of his friend until the very end. Colvin had set aside a spot right next to his own in the family plot for Blake to be buried in. Later protests from Colvin family members prevented Blake from being buried where Verplanck Colvin had desired and the headstone intended for Blake remains blank to this day. Instead, Mills Blake lies in eternal rest just a few miles away from his lifelong friend in a different cemetery. Blake is buried beneath a very modest grave marker only labeled with his name in the plot of a family friend.

The details of Ebenezer Emmons' burial, or more accurately... burials, is the perhaps the most difficult to unwind of all of the people on the list. He died in 1863 in North Carolina and was buried in City Cemetery in Raleigh. Sometime later his remains were removed and reburied in Albany, NY. However, his name also appears on monument in a family plot in the town of Middlefield, MA, where he was born. Essentially, this is a cenotaph. A cenotaph is a headstone, marker, or monument honoring a person whose remains are buried elsewhere. That monument is identical in size and shape to the one in Albany Rural Cemetery but the date of death on it is incorrect. Rather than the correct 10/1/1863 it reads 10/1/1864. A bit bizarre. I have yet to figure out the discrepancy. And as far as I can tell Emmons is the only one on my list with a cenotaph.

Alexander Macomb is buried in the most interesting cemetery on the list by a long shot - the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC. I recommend a visit the next time you are in the nation's capital. It is not a tourist trap by any means and I had the grounds all to myself when I visited. Besides the actual burials of countless politicians there are rows and rows of cenotaphs as well.

Bob Marshall is buried in Brooklyn. The Marshall family plot in Salem Fields Cemetery is directly behind the Guggenheim family mausoleum. This is of some interest as the Marshall family camp at Knollwood on Lower Saranac Lake had numerous other prominent families maintain cottages there as well. Among them were the Guggenheims.

A few years before William Nye died and "feeling the infirmities of old age creeping upon him" he went to live with his sister in Vermont. He met a tragic end in a house fire that started in the middle of the night. Attempts to rescue him from the upper room where he slept were unsuccessful.

Two of the people on the list are buried in unmarked graves - Alfred Street and John Adams Dix. Street's unmarked grave is next to his wife's marked grave in Albany Rural Cemetery. Not sure which side of the headstone Street is buried, left or right, but cemetery records indicate he is there. Today as I was compiling this information I could not find my pictures for Street and had to drive back to Albany Rural Cemetery to take new ones. Luckily just a minor hiccup as the cemetery is just a few miles away. John Adams Dix is buried in Trinity Churchyard in Lower Manhattan about fifty feet from Alexander Hamilton. Cemetery records and old photos show a headstone for Dix however it was removed or missing the day I visited to photograph it. Therefore, his grave is now unmarked.

Archibald McIntyre is buried in a large family plot in Albany Rural Cemetery along with his wife, several of his children, and two of his son-in-laws: James MacNaughton and David Henderson. You may recognize those names. MacNaughton Mountain was named for James MacNaughton and the Henderson Monument along Calamity Brook marks the spot where David Henderson died of an accidental gunshot wound in 1845.

And finally, here's some trivia about the various gravesites. I will just share info on the 23 names (only 22 if you exclude Esther) attached to the 24 presently named High Peaks. If you hadn't figured it out by now, Dix's name appears on two peaks.

Burials by state: NY - 17, MA - 2 plus one cenotaph, VT - 1, CT - 1, DC - 1

Burials within the Blue Line: 2 - Orson Phelps and Alfred Lee Donaldson

Buried outside of the Blue Line but closest to the Blue Line:
Thomas Armstrong - 2.5 miles
Franklin Hough - 9.3 miles
Silas Wright - 10.3 miles

Person buried nearest the peak named for them:
Orson Phelps - 7.7 miles
Alfred Lee Donaldson - 12.7 miles
Average distance - 142 miles

Person buried furthest from the peak named for them:
Alexander Macomb - 393 miles

Death furthest in the past: Alexander Macomb (1841)

Most recent death: Grace Hudowalksi (2004)

Oldest: Grace Hudowalski (98)
Youngest: Bob Marshall (38)


Hope you found all of this of some interest. Thanks for reading.

Last edited by Makwa; 01-07-2020 at 07:22 PM..
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:17 PM   #2
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That's fantastic!

Time for another road trip to Albany Rural
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:27 PM   #3
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Fascinating info! Thanks for sharing!

Also, if you're on Facebook, you might want to look up the group "History and Legends of the Adirondacks". A lot of the people there would be very interested in this, and you might find folks who are able to help fill in blanks.
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:29 AM   #4
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Fascinating stuff! Lots of interesting headstones & monuments too. Thanks so much for sharing it.
If you make copies & share with county historians, also consider some of the larger public libraries in the relevant area. Libraries get questions about this kind of stuff (I'm a retired public librarian and was a local history/genealogy reference librarian for part of my career). Also -- would the 46ers be interested in putting it on their website? Seems very relevant.
Given the near-mythic status of the 46 peaks, I've always found it appropriate that one of them was named for a probably mythical person.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:04 AM   #5
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That's fantastic! Time for another road trip to Albany Rural
Thanks Tick. It's definitely worth the time for a ride through Albany Rural. It is quite an interesting place. If you go and want directions to Marcy, Emmons, Street, or the McIntyre plot shoot me a message. Marcy is somewhat difficult to find as he is listed in one section but is 100 feet away in a spot nobody would ever look, Street's section is in an odd spot that you can't get your car too near, and as I recall McIntyre was sort of tucked out of the way. Emmons is not so hard you just need to walk the section. The monument is huge and easy to find if you know what it looks like. A few tips on how to find them all would make your day easier.

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Fascinating info! Thanks for sharing! Also, if you're on Facebook, you might want to look up the group "History and Legends of the Adirondacks". A lot of the people there would be very interested in this, and you might find folks who are able to help fill in blanks.
Thank you pesky. I keep a low profile when it comes to social media but I will definitely check that out.

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Fascinating stuff! Lots of interesting headstones & monuments too. Thanks so much for sharing it.
If you make copies & share with county historians, also consider some of the larger public libraries in the relevant area. Libraries get questions about this kind of stuff (I'm a retired public librarian and was a local history/genealogy reference librarian for part of my career). Also -- would the 46ers be interested in putting it on their website? Seems very relevant.
Given the near-mythic status of the 46 peaks, I've always found it appropriate that one of them was named for a probably mythical person.
Thanks rick. Now the rest of the work begins. And I'm not sure when I will get to it. As I envision it now I am thinking of this as a guide book. A short bio of who the person was/ what they were famous for, location of the cemetery, a map of the grounds, list of other notable burials in the cemetery, location of the gravesite/ how to find it, a few pictures, and perhaps a couple of paragraphs on their later years or any interesting stories that might be worth sharing. I don't want to turn this into a biography of these people necessarily. More like just enough to give you a flavor for who they were and how to find their resting places.

Once done with that I may reach out to folks like you and other folks on the forum for suggestions on who might be interested in the final product.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:17 PM   #6
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So what's the 24th mountain (named after one of the 23 people)?
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:47 PM   #7
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So what's the 24th mountain (named after one of the 23 people)?
Dix and South Dix are named for the same person.
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:57 AM   #8
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Dix and South Dix are named for the same person.
Yes. That is the one.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:00 AM   #9
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It was pointed out to me over on the ADKHighPeaks Forum that I missed St. Anthony on my list (for Santanoni). Here was my response/ details on his burial. Will also add pictures to photo album linked to above at some point soon...


Seems that "most authorities" attribute Santanoni to a corruption of Saint Anthony by the St Regis and Abenaki Indians. They were converted to Christianity by the French Canadians and Saint Anthony was their patron saint. Being part French Canadian, and having discovered recently that I also have an Abenaki ancestor, I am embarrassed I missed this one. And I had read the story too. Russell Carson touched on it in "Peaks and People of the Adirondacks" but also had another story around the name "Sinondowanne" that he dismissed just a few paragraphs later. Anyway, my omission was not intentional.

So, I guess we are dealing with Saint Anthony of Padua. Details of his death and burial from his Wikipedia page... "Anthony became sick with ergotism in 1231, and went to the woodland retreat at Camposampiero with two other friars for a respite. There, he lived in a cell built for him under the branches of a walnut tree. Anthony died on the way back to Padua on 13 June 1231 at the Poor Clare monastery at Arcella (now part of Padua), aged 35. According to the request of Anthony, he was buried in the small church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, probably dating from the late 12th century and near a convent which had been founded by him in 1229. Nevertheless, due to his increased notability, construction of a large basilica began around 1232, although it was not completed until 1301. The smaller church was incorporated into structure as the Cappella della Madonna Mora (Chapel of the Dark Madonna). The basilica is commonly known today as "Il Santo" (The Saint). Various legends surround the death of Anthony. One holds that when he died, the children cried in the streets and that all the bells of the churches rang of their own accord. Another legend regards his tongue. Anthony is buried in a chapel within the large basilica built to honor him, where his tongue is displayed for veneration in a large reliquary along with his jaw and his vocal cords. When his body was exhumed 30 years after his death, it was found turned to dust, but the tongue was claimed to have glistened and looked as if it were still alive and moist; apparently a further claim was made that this was a sign of his gift of preaching."

Here's a live web cam of his tomb... https://www.santantonio.org/en/conte...thony-live-cam

So we know where he is buried but I'm not flying to Italy any time soon to photographically document the tomb. My executive decision is that I'll add him to the list but will still call my research complete. I'm looking at a live web cam of the tomb right now. Close enough. At least I can say I've seen it live (though not in person).
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:37 AM   #10
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This is super interesting. Kudos for you for compiling all of this information, and for also completing a rather "unique" challenge that I doubt anyone else is likely to similarly accomplish.

I could swear that I once read somewhere that Panther and Henderson were originally swapped- Henderson was the name initially applied to the High Peak, and Panther was the name initially applied to the lower peak to the east of the Santanoni Range. As I recall, the source indicated that the names were inadvertently swapped by the USGS when the first topo map for the area was produced, and the error stuck. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read this- and I'll admit it's possible that it is entirely a false fabrication of my memory.

In any case, it sounds like you also visited Henderson's grave so your bases are covered there.

Interesting follow up question: Who among those that have a peak named for them actually climbed said peak? There's the obvious: Marshall, Grace, and Esther (even if apocryphal for the later). Wikipedia states with certainty that Porter did indeed climb Porter. Colvin seems like a pretty solid bet; Blake is possible but less certain (would they have seen it necessary to summit a lesser peak they could triangulate from other more prominent peaks in the vicinity?) Phelps seems plausible. Emmons and Redfield are also possible but I think not super likely. Nye is also possible, at least more so than any peak named for a politician.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:52 PM   #11
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This is super interesting. Kudos for you for compiling all of this information, and for also completing a rather "unique" challenge that I doubt anyone else is likely to similarly accomplish.

I could swear that I once read somewhere that Panther and Henderson were originally swapped- Henderson was the name initially applied to the High Peak, and Panther was the name initially applied to the lower peak to the east of the Santanoni Range. As I recall, the source indicated that the names were inadvertently swapped by the USGS when the first topo map for the area was produced, and the error stuck. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read this- and I'll admit it's possible that it is entirely a false fabrication of my memory.

In any case, it sounds like you also visited Henderson's grave so your bases are covered there.

Interesting follow up question: Who among those that have a peak named for them actually climbed said peak? There's the obvious: Marshall, Grace, and Esther (even if apocryphal for the later). Wikipedia states with certainty that Porter did indeed climb Porter. Colvin seems like a pretty solid bet; Blake is possible but less certain (would they have seen it necessary to summit a lesser peak they could triangulate from other more prominent peaks in the vicinity?) Phelps seems plausible. Emmons and Redfield are also possible but I think not super likely. Nye is also possible, at least more so than any peak named for a politician.
Thanks so much DSettahr.

Thanks for the tip on Panther/Henderson. I'll have to do some research on that. I certainly would not be surprised if you were right.

Interesting question re: ascents of peaks named for them. I think you have the obvious three. With the exception of Herb Clark the old guides will be hard to verify. Colvin and Blake seem like they could be tracked down as Colvin kept meticulous records. The rest would take some research.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:38 AM   #12
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I could swear that I once read somewhere that Panther and Henderson were originally swapped- Henderson was the name initially applied to the High Peak, and Panther was the name initially applied to the lower peak to the east of the Santanoni Range. As I recall, the source indicated that the names were inadvertently swapped by the USGS when the first topo map for the area was produced, and the error stuck. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read this- and I'll admit it's possible that it is entirely a false fabrication of my memory.
Oh boy... this one is a bit strange. It comes down to the use of two different names: Panther Mountain and Panther Peak. Panther Peak being the presently named High Peak.

From Russell Carson's "Peaks and People of the Adirondacks"... "Although 'Panther' is a very old mountain name, going back to at least 1840, the date of a pamphlet which describes the ore veins at McIntyre and which contains a map showing Panther Mountain, it was not attached to the north peak of Santanoni until many years later. The original Panther Mountain was the peak rising from the west shore of Lake Henderson that is now designated 'Mount Henderson,' and the original Mount Henderson was the mountain west of Wallface that is shown on the United States Geological Survey map as 'MacNaughton Mountain.' Those were the mountains that bore the names 'Panther' and 'Henderson' down to, and including, the period of the Colvin survey. On the Santanoni Quadrangle of the Geological Survey map, Panther Mountain became Mount Henderson and Panther Peak was shown as the north peak of Santanoni. That quadrangle was surveyed in 1901, and the map published in 1904. Those dates are as far back as the transfer of names has been traced. It is not possible to learn how the name changes came about."

So, if I am reading this correctly, the High Peak named Panther Peak never had the named Henderson on it though Henderson does appear on another mountain once named Panther Mountain.

Carson's book was the first one I consulted when I started my project, and though I have no recollection of deciphering this paragraph I must have read it and dismissed the Henderson/Panther connection.

Still bears some more research to see if any new info has been found since the 1920's but as least we know this much now.
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:15 PM   #13
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That is strange and interesting. Glad to hear it wasn't a complete fabrication of faulty memory even if I had the details wrong.

FWIW, I'm almost positive that it wasn't Carson's book that I read about the Panther/Henderson mix-up in... So there must be at least one additional source of info.

I want to say that it was maybe Alfred Donaldson's two part series on the history of the Adirondacks? Unfortunately I don't have my copy with me in Buffalo to check.

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Old 01-13-2020, 12:24 PM   #14
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I want to say that it was maybe Alfred Donaldson's two part series on the history of the Adirondacks? Unfortunately I don't have my copy with me in Buffalo to check.
I have it. Will give a look later today.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:11 PM   #15
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I want to say that it was maybe Alfred Donaldson's two part series on the history of the Adirondacks? Unfortunately I don't have my copy with me in Buffalo to check.
In Volume I of Donaldson about a dozen pages are devoted to David Henderson. The only reference made to a mountain named after Henderson is, "The 'duck hole' where he was shot has ever since been called 'Calamity Pond,' and the brook that flows from it, and a near-by mountain, now bear the same name."

Also checked "Heaven Up'Histed'ness" but that only made a one-sentence reference to what Carson wrote. No additional details beyond what we already know. I guess I'll have to look elsewhere though I'm running out of ideas where exactly to look. Between Carson and Donaldson I think it's fair to say we have the details. If anybody ever reads anything about Henderson/Panther that is otherwise illuminating please let me know.

And not related to Henderson/Panther but on the topic of names... while scanning the document I found Donaldson spelled the former name for present-day Colvin that I noted above was "Sebille" as "Sabelle". So, take your pick. I believe it was Phelps that used the "Sebille" spelling.
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