The "Where Is It?" FAQ

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.


Here's 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.


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