Actual Factual Georgia: Second ‘Goat Man’ lived near Macon

Q: Last month the AJC published a story about Oakland Cemetery raising funds to buy a headstone for William Jasper Franklin, aka “The Goat Man.” Franklin died in 1910, but the story reminded me of a modern “Goat Man” who lived and died more recently. Do you have any information about him?

—Sperry M. Wilder, Roswell

A: Georgia’s “Goat Man” Version 2.0 was Charles “Ches’ McCartney, who spent his final years in Georgia after traveling throughout the country with his menagerie of goats.

Those goats pulled a wagon-like contraption as McCartney’s legend grew. He wore goat skins, sold postcards, told tall tales and delivered roadside sermons.

It’s said he carried two books: The Bible and a copy of “Robinson Crusoe.”

McCartney was born in Iowa in 1901, according to various sources, and lived the existence of a vagabond until his old age.

In the 1980s, he settled in Jeffersonville, about 30 miles southeast of Macon, where he made his home in an old school bus until he moved to a nursing home in Macon.

McCartney died there in 1998.

You can read more about McCartney in a bio called “America’s Goat Man,” written by Darryl Patton and sold on Amazon, or in several online bios.

If you ever saw or talked to the Goat Man, let me know.

Q: How do you pronounce Coweta County? I’ve heard weathercasters say Cow-Eat-ah and I’ve heard others say Co-Wheat-Ah. Which is correct?

A: This is a question that has come up in the past, but I’m happy to answer it again.

I turned to the perfect source: Someone who spends a good bit of her life in Coweta County.

Patricia Palmer, the county’s director of community and human resources, would like to “set the record straight,” as she said.

“It’s pronounced ‘Cow-eat-ah.’ Some leave the ‘w’ out a little bit, so it sounds like ‘Ca-eat-ah.’ ” Palmer said.

She and other locals can live with that, but if you put a ‘w’ on the second syllable, you might be corrected.

“And then some people have no idea how to say it, bless their hearts,” she said. “We had a contract with somebody and they called it Cow-wet-a. And that is absolutely not correct.”

Folks quickly know if someone isn’t from there.

“For the most part, if you have a conversation with somebody, they either know the area and they know how to pronounce it, or they say ‘Cow-wet-ah’ and they clearly don’t know,” Palmer said.

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Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column; Chris J. Starrs contributed. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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