UNC Pres. Kemp Plummer Battle relates the following in the History of the University of North Carolina (which this blog will hereafter just call Battle's History because I intend to blog about it quite a bit more):
"About a mile toward the northeast from Piney Prospect, on what was evidently an inlet in the ancient sea, is a copse of woods on a hillside. Near its center is a cluster of massive rocks, closed on three sides and partially covered overhead by the beetling cliff. In this dismal retreat a runaway slave, named Tom Morgan, lay hidden for many months, emerging at night to subsist by robbery. Such terror was caused by his depredations that a force of men, armed with shotguns, scoured the forest, succeeded in finding the hiding place and capturing the robber. This is the "Robber's Den" or "Black Tom's Lair." With boyish curiosity I visited it the day after his capture and gazed with awe and pity on his bed of leaves, his shoemaker's bench, the charred firelogs and the bones of pigs and fowls, relics of his lawless life. He ran away because he had been sold to a speculator and was un-willing to be carried to a distant Southern plantation."
Okay, long quote. So the questions are: Where is the Robber's Den? Does anyone know of any other source that mentions this incident?
When Battle mentions Point Prospect, he means, of course, the overlook to the east from the vicnity of Gimghoul Castle. A mile to the northeast of there "on a hillside" would seem to be somewhere on the hill that is the Greenwood neighborhood in Chapel Hill. Near Paul Green's house? I don't know. There is a lot of private land back there and it would take the permission of a lot of landowners to really explore the area.
According to Wikipedia, Battle was born in 1831 and graduated from UNC in 1849 (at the age of 18?). So I take it that the capture (and presumable execution) of poor Tom Morgan must have occurred in the 1840's some time. I wonder if these events were ever mentioned in the Hillsborough Recorder?