The "Where Is It?"
Many of you have
continued to pester me with questions starting with "Where is..." with respect
to Centerboro, Oteseraga County, and other places mentioned in the series. This
is particularly true of correspondents from other states, countries, hemispheres,
and planets. Rather than answer these questions in a series of disconnected FAQs,
I am going to answer a number of them right now. If you have any further
questions, I offer you the same advice I've given before. Get a good map!
Short of changing my e-mail address, this is the only way I could think of stopping
all these pesky questions, so...
Let us begin with the territory of the Oteseraga tribe from which the present
day Oteseraga County derived its name and a considerable amount of acreage. The
present day members of the tribe currently reside on a reservation about 30 miles
or so north of Oteseraga Lake and take their revenge upon those who robbed them
of their land by selling cheap cigarettes and running a gambling casino.
Oteseraga County. To make it easy to spot, I've filled it in with a pleasant shade
of green in the map of New York State counties below. In the southwest corner
of the Oteseraga County near its junction with Oneida and Herkimer Counties is
Centerboro, and nearby in Oneida County is Rome, New York, which is mentioned
fairly frequently in the books. So far, so good?
I bought the New
York State map below in the Busy Bee a long, long time ago. It was published in
1911 and clearly shows Oteseraga County, which I have circled for you.
Some of my readers say they cannot find Oteseraga County on any New York
State maps no matter how hard they try, but how could that possibly be true? Surely
this artifact from the early part of the last century should finally lay to rest
their map anxieties...and yours, too, if you have any.
Next you'll find
a map I copied from a dinky brochure the Centerboro Chamber of Commerce puts out.
The Chamber is so backward and provincial that it does not even have a website
yet (Can you believe it?), so this is the first appearance of this map on the
Internet. It will show you Centerboro's position relative to a few of the larger
New York State cities. I don't know why they would have included Poughkeepsie
on this map, do you?
Now, with respect
to all the Oteseraga County places like Tushville, South Pharisee, etc., I tried
to scan in a map of the county, but I just could not produce an image that
would load reasonably quickly or look very intelligible. So instead, you'll just
have to try to visualize the Centerboro area featured in the Freddy books
with a good New York State map and my not-to-scale sketch below. I have
left out a lot of the little details which you probably would not be interested
in, such as the location of Senator Blore's house just beyond Centerboro or Herb's
old camp up at the east end of the lake. Neither have I labeled many topographical
features such as Burleigh Hill (upon which the Bean farm is situated), Lanihan
Hill (above the Oneida Valley), various streams, creeks, brooks, etc.
You can't believe
everything you read in the Freddy books as far as where things are in Oteseraga
County because Mr. Brooks contradicts himself several times. For instance,
he puts Centerboro in both Oneida County and Oteseraga County. In Camping,
he says incorrectly that it's about 8 miles by road and 3 miles cross country
from the Bean farm to Camphor's, yet in Perilous, he correctly says it's
4 miles from the Bean farm to the broad valley before the hill before you get
to Camphor's. See what I mean? In Dictator, he gets the placement of the
Schermerhorn and Witherspoon farms reversed, contradicting what's he's said elsewhere
about their whereabouts. In Cowboy, he twice says the Bean farm is west
of Centerboro, whereas just about everywhere else he says northwest, which is
true. Is this artistic liberty or sloppiness? Does it really matter? No, it doesn't.
This is just a piddling book series. However, my map above is a true representation
of the area most frequently mentioned in the books up to the year 1958. Things
are, naturally enough, different now.