In 1833 a youth named Peter Dromgoole arrived from Virginia to study at the University of North Carolina. He had been there only a few months when he met and fell deeply in love with a beautiful Chapel Hill girl. There are few campuses which equal the loveliness of the University of North Carolina in the spring. It must have been particularly appreciated by young Peter Dromgoole that spring of 1833.
He and Fanny had their own secret meeting place - a huge flat rock near the cliff. Some afternoons, when Fanny arrived before Peter, she would sit on the rock watching the sunlight drift through the trees above. It was never long, however, before she would see Peter's tall figure striding toward her along the winding road which lead to the rock. One balmy spring day followed another so happily that these two could hardly have sensed the approaching tragedy.
Then Peter noticed that another student - a close friend of his - was also interested in Fanny. Gradually Peter's jealousy grew until finally it became an unreasoning thing which knew no bounds. He made every effort to avoid his former friend but the other youth seemed to delight in goading him. One afternoon the two met face to face on one of the narrow dirt walks of the campus. His rival's shoulder hit Peter's with such force as they passed that his hat was knocked to the ground. The rage which had been smouldering within Peter rose and enveloped him. His face flushed and heated words flew between the two young men.
The other youth challenged Peter to a duel. The challenge was no sooner flung down than it was accepted. Each chose his seconds. The spot agreed to for the duel was to be near the cliff at the edge of town. The hour was set for midnight and plans were laid with the upmost secrecy. Peter was a reasonably good shot, but the night of the duel was such that marksmanship good or bad scarcely mattered.