The earliest mention of the Panther's Den is from a letter to the editors in the November 8, 1855 Fayetteville Observer, by a visitor to Hillsborough, where he mentioned the Panther's Den as one of the "...places invested with peculiar interest, and deemed the most beautiful amongst the numerous lovely scenes that abound on the Enoe."
Henry B. Davis, a long-time resident of West Hillsborough, told this story to his son in the 1980s: "Legend has it that there was a panther living in a cave on the side of the mountain. So it was known as the Panther's Den. And legend has it that this guy went on top of the Panther's Den, laid down up there with his gun, waited for the panther to come out, and shot him. And then he carved his name in a tree on top of the Panther's Den." (From: A Folklore Study of West Hillsborough, N.C.: Including Local Legends and Games, by Bryant K. Davis, 1986.)
The shooting event is said to have occured sometime between the 1920s and 1940s. The name of the man who shot the panther is unknown. The body of the panther is said to have been donated to the State Museum of Natural History, but inquiries as to its whereabouts were inconclusive.
An excerpt from the May 3. 1945 News of Orange