Macon On Our Minds

Ray Charles at the state Capitol for the state song naming ceremony.

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Today we have Georgia on our minds: Macon, Ga., specifically. Macon is featured in the DLG in a number of collections on a variety of topics.

It was the birthplace of celebrated poet Sidney Lanier and Academy Award winning actor Melvyn Douglas.

Until 1960, the Georgia State Fair was held in Macon. You can view payday loans photographs of agricultural exhibits, shows, and parades in the Georgia State Fair, Macon, 1886-1960 Collection

Macon is also known for its exemplary architectural styles. In the early 20th century, the Douglass Theatre was Macon’s premier movie and vaudeville hall for African-Americans. The theaters hosted blues greats and comedy acts, as well as films. It was later the venue to showcase the talents of Redding, Little Richard and James Brown.  The theater closed in 1972 and was later restored, reopening in 1997. Records of the Douglass Theatre can be viewed in the Blues, Black Vaudeville, and the Silver Screen online collection.

Macon is also hailed as the birthplace of Southern rock and roll with stalwarts like Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers Band. It’s no surprise that Macon is home to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (whose first inductee was Ray Charles, born in Albany, Georgia).

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The Goat Man

"The Goat Man" at the end of his life.

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“The Goat Man is here!” Word would quickly spread through town as soon as someone spotted the famous wanderer and his band of smelly goats on the outskirts. Adults and children alike would drop whatever they were doing and dash over for a visit with the Goat Man.

McCartney in 1945

An article in the New Georgia Encyclopedia says Charles (“Ches”) McCartney was a significant folk and religious figure in Georgia for more than four decades. After being injured on a Works Progress Administration job, McCartney experienced a religious awakening and began traveling to preach his message of eternal damnation for sinners.  It is widely held that McCartney was an influence on the writings of Georgia author Flannery O’Connor.


People would flock to visit the "Goat Man" when word of his appearance on the outskirts of town was reported.

After being brutally attacked several times, McCartney settled in South Georgia,  his unique life’s story ending in a Macon nursing home in 1998.

Newspaper articles about “Goat Man” can be found in the Georgiana Collection clipping files of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Additional images of McCartney and his goats can be found in the Vanishing Georgia Collection by searching for “Charles McCartney” or “Goat Man.”

If you have memories of the “Goat Man’s” visits, leave a comment — we’d love to hear from you!

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