In Battle's History of UNC, on page 607, Kemp P. Battle relates the tale of Leroy Couch and the long forgotten community of Couchtown: "The name of a singular character should be recorded - Leroy Couch, a white man. He once owned, it is said, considerable substance, but lost it by dissipation. He seems to have no kin. He sought no acquaintances. He bought or squatted on an acre near the eastern edge of the town and with the remnants of his possessions lived a hard, squalid and solitary life."
In the 1850 census Lee Couch is listed with wife Sally and children William (15), Louisa (12), and Jonathan (9). But by the 1860 census he was listed as living alone, so something must have happened to his family. Both census entries list him as owning real estate.
Battle continues: "In some way it was discovered that he was a faithful and skillful nurse and, on petition of nearly the entire student body, he was employed for years in all cases of severe sickness among the students."
Perhaps Mr. Couch's family died of disease and he gained experience as a nurse through their suffering. Battle's statments about the student petition are confirmed by a petition contained in University Papers #40005 from 1853 or 1854, which recognizes Lee Couch, who "has devoted himself entirely to [the students'] service." The petition continues: "The College servants for some year or two past have been-as they say-unable to perform the various duties assigned to them."
Battle's History continues: "Without pretending to independent knowledge, he implicitly obeyed the doctors, watched his patients with unsleeping vigilance and rendered the needful service with regularity. When the University was closed [2/1/1871], as if his mission was finished, he returned to his solitary life, was extremely poor, but never begged and, when decrepit, died in the county home for paupers."
Here again, independent records support Battle. The County Home death records include this item:
Lee (Leroy) Couch
Born: c. 1800 [the 1870 census gives his YOB as 1802]
Died: June 25, 1876
Battle further relates: "Two or three other houses were built near his, and the settlement, seperate from the village habitations, was called Couchtown. Handsome residences extend to this distant and obscure hamlet." In his prior book Sketches of the History of UNC, Battle also mentions that in the 1850's the University grew so much that students "overflowed the old buildings and were camped in little cottages all over the town from Couchtown to Craig's." In response, New East and New West were completed in 1859 to accomodate the expanded student body. Battle also mentions Couchtown in Volume II of his History on page 92: "When [Francis and Robert Winston's] reached the boundary line of Chapel Hill at the hamlet of Couchtown, the hilltop on the Durham road, the elder suddenly leaped from the vehicle and dashed forward with the amazing speed for which duck-legged youths are often famous, shouting, 'Hurrah! I am the first student on the Hill!'" This was at the reopening of the University in 1875.
In all, it would appear that Couchtown was somewhere "near the eastern edge of the town" [Boundary Street], at "the hilltop on the Durham road" [Franklin Street] at a place to which "handsome residences" extended in 1907. I assume that this was in the vicinity of Davie Circle.