The Goat Man

“The Goat Man” at the end of his life.

“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.

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!


61 Replies to “The Goat Man”

  1. I remember the Goat Man, he used to come through Rossville, Ga every year. We lived on the old “Happy Valley Farm” and he came by every year to a big tree up the road from where we lived and we all would go see him. I also found and purchased a VHS of his life story.

  2. If you look like a goat, travel around with goats, eat with goat, lie down among goats and smell like a goat and it won’t be long before people will be calling you the Goat Man. McCartney’s who settled in South Georgia, life is different , unique…thanks for the post

  3. I can remember the Goat Man who used to visit our area often. We were kids then, but now there is no Goat Man here.

  4. yes I remember daddy taking us kids to see him as he passed through N.C. He would park in a field off 220 near Star N.C. I was probably 10 or 11 years . We always loved to see him when he pass through . I really miss those days

  5. I remember seeing the Goat Man on several occasions in several different locations. He was very friendly and always willing to talk.

  6. I grew up in Hahira, GA. We were always glad to see the Goatman come through. He had a cart pulled by goats. He slept with the goats so he was dirty.

    Rosalyn Sumner

  7. My husband was stationed at Warner Robins AFB, and in the Honor Guard . In 1955, he helped bury the Goatmans father.

  8. I remember the Goat Man from the late 50’s and early 60’s traveling through North Georgia. People came from miles away to see him.

  9. In the 1990s I was the office manager at Eastview Nursing Home where
    Mr. Charlie lived from around 1987 to his death in 1998.
    He was always very sweet and loved the attention he received.
    His son Albert usually visited his dad a few times a year…on those occasions we always fed him & offered him a much needed shower (which he usually accepted) while the laundry department washed his clothes.
    Sometime around 1992 /93
    Mr. Charlie ‘married’ his sweetheart
    Ms. Virginia Tanner (who was also a resident of Eastview)..they often sat in the front lobby holding hands & talking to everyone that came in.

  10. I never had the pleasure of meeting him. He sure touched a lot of lives. One thing that impressed me about him was that people would endure the smell just to talk to him. It seems to me that he was loved greatly by people from all walks of life. The romance of the open road calls to even an old woman like me.

  11. We lived on a cotton farm about 3 miles west of Yatesville, GA. My daddy would always take us to see the “goat man” when he came through. He usually stopped at the little Hanson’s country store about a half mile from our house.. my brother and I loved petting his goats. This was in the 50s so he was fairly young then. He always took time to talk to us.

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