About 20 years ago, when I was packaging and selling musical strings as a sideline , I began marketing Ong's Hat Banjo strings-with an advertising blurb to the effect the Jersey Devil had come upon poor Ong while he was picking under a tree. The only thing left was Ong's hat---and these devilishly good banjo strings. !
To be honest, I was conflicted about even including the last part, but I figure that it's a legend that's been around now for the better part of twenty years and, in some ways, has co-opted the history of the town itself, so it was worth including.
Ted, as far as citations go, if you'll look back at some of the articles I have written I've done extensive footnoting which ends up looking like a jumbled mess online. I am still trying to figure out the best way to move forward with my writing - Jerseyman and I have had extensive discussions about this. Your point is not lost on me - I just need to figure out the best way to do it where the citations don't become enormous and distracting and overwhelm the article.
Nice write-up Ben! Regarding the photo of the "Apanay Cafe", does anyone know the history of that? If you read Marilyn's "Exploring the Pine Barrens" book (2003), she mentions "Anapa's Restaurant" and I also remember that name. Then one day it changed - in the photo you can see that the "Apanay Cafe" sign has been attached to the original sign to cover up the old name. I think there may have been yet another name at an earlier date as well.
The story here in town is that it was family owned and some members left to open a new restaurant at the old Country House on S. Pemberton Rd. taking the name with them. That venture has since gone out of business. Also The Magnolia Rd. Tavern has a fresh coat of paint.
From my perspective, if you're intending to write an item that even remotely falls into the category of historic documentation, providing the sources of your information is absolutely essential and most certainly will enhance your credibility. I feel certain that Jerseyman and Spungman can appreciate my position on this issue and am hopeful that they will respond. Using footnotes might be the simple solution. Those readers that wish to ignore them can simply do so and just enjoy reading your story on its own merit. However, don't misunderstand me, I'm well aware of the dilemma that excessive citations can present.
I'm going to take the other side of that argument. I don't think that Ben's article aspired to be a scholarly work, but just something fun to read that conveyed information about a place an average person might have wondered about. I think it's great just the way it is. The audience isn't a bunch of professors reading an academic journal.
I deeply appreciate the effort you devoted to providing the numerous citations for your fine article. Like you, I too have an interest in the history and folklore of Ong's Hat that has led to my maintaining a file on this cherished place. I first visited this site two days after a tragic auto crash of July 16, 1957, took the lives of two high school buddies. The tree they smashed into was situated a few hundred yards from the famous Ong's Hat tree and cellar hole, the lone surviving vestiges from the past.
For the past 47 years, I have been living on Burrs Mill Road ca. 2.2 miles straight line distance through the forest southwest of Ongs Hat. I've spent many a day exploring this region.