Ong's Hat
Lebanon State Forest, Burlington County, NJ

not far from Four Mile


There was a huddle of houses and a dance hall in the 1890s. Prize fights were one of the main attractions of the area. Once a black man defeated a white man and a riot was the result.

A young man named Ong often frequented the dances. He owned a shiny high silk hat he wore in a rakish manner. A young woman became jealous of him and snatched the hat from his head and stamped upon it in the middle of the dance floor. 20

Mr. Ong took the hat and tossed it high into a tree at the center of the town. There it stayed for many months.

The place is also thought to be the place of the murders of Mrs. Chininiski by her husband John Chininiski. She vanished without a trace and soon after her husband took off out of town. Many years later hunters found a human skull and skeleton, thought by many to be that of Mrs. Chininiski. 21

Famous Burlington County detective, Ellis Parker, trailed Mr. Chininiski to New York but there the trail grew cold.

Beck, Henry Charlton. 1983. From original 1936 copyright. Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.