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Charles McCartney

Georgia
July 6, 1901 - Jeffersonville

It was easy to get Charles McCartney’s goat.
Born in Iowa in 1901, McCartney got hurt working for the New Deal WPA in 1935. A religious awakening led him to hitch a team of goats to a wagon and travel the country with his wife and son, dressed in goatskins, preaching the Gospel. Thus was born – again -- the legendary "Goat Man." He claimed his life-long wanderings took him and his caravan through all the lower 48 states plus Alaska and Canada. He cited the Bible – and Robinson Crusoe – as his inspirations.
McCartney eventually settled in Jeffersonville, Georgia, where he started the Free Thinking Christian Mission, and traveled the countryside preaching salvation. His religious fervor inspired writer Flannery O’Connor, who mentioned him in her letters and apparently based some of her characters on him. He spent his final years as a local celebrity in a Macon nursing home and died at 97.
One of Georgia’s great folk characters was born in Iowa on July 6, 1901, Today in Georgia History.

Fast Fact

A character based on the "Goat Man" appears in Cormac McCarthy's novel Suttree.

Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.