Top 5 Memorable Maconites
In no given geographical area has any part of the world produced the characters, political genius', or the talents in the arts, literature or music that the South has produced. There are many things and qualities that make the south a truly unique and awesome place to live.
From big personalities to unique quirks with colorful backgrounds, these five individuals are without doubt some of Macon and the south's most illustrious and memorable people. These men, regardless of their life pursuits, have had an impact on on us all.
1. Ronnie "Machine Gun" Thompson
Ronnie “Machine Gun” Thompson was the first two-term member of his party to have been elected the mayor of Macon and was a political character only Georgia could create; “a white gospel singer who became mayor on a “shoot to kill” platform, and a segregationist who was a close friend to many black recording artists, including James Brown. Thompson was awarded his unique moniker after he returned a sniper’s fire by personally spraying bullets from a police issued .30 caliber gun. Thompson’s antics didn’t stop there. He did, after all, buy Macon an armored tank at a rock bottom price from a neighboring county. His campaign song was “If you don’t like Policemen, Call a Hippie.”
2. Ches McCartney - The Legendary Goat Man
A traveling preacher, Charles "Ches" McCartney was a significant folk and religious figure in Georgia for more than four decades, and a likely influence on the works of the writer Flannery O'Connor. Charles McCartney, also known as the “Goat Man," was a traveling preacher who roamed central Georgia in a goat-pulled wagon in the mid-twentieth century. The Goat Man traveled around the United States driving an iron-wheeled caravan of between twelve and thirty goats. McCartney was attacked and mugged during his trips around the country. In 1978 his home burned down, after which he purchased and lived in a bus. He spent his final years as a local celebrity at a nursing home in Macon, where he died at the age of ninety-seven on November 15, 1998.
3. Tom Stimus
If you were around Macon in the 1980's, then the phrase “Tom Stimus No. 1” is sure to turn back the odometer in your mind. Stimus came to middle Georgia and opened up Tom Stimus Dodge in Forsyth and would jump up, then slam his fist on a truck that said “Don't make a $5,000 mistake” on the windshield and yell: “People all over the world are talking about one thing: Tom Stimus, trucks, trucks, trucks.”
4. W. Jordan Massey
W. Jordan Massee (Senior) was a prosperous businessman and entrepreneur from Macon. Massee’s bigger-than-life personality and extroverted nature lent to his nickname "Big Daddy.” After being introduced to writer, Tennessee Williams on Saint Simons Island in 1941, Massee’s larger than life personality served as the inspiration for the Big Daddy character in Williams’ play “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof,” which Williams wrote while at Massey’s Macon home on College Street.
5. Wm. Holt Ernest
“William Holt Ernest, otherwise known as the Water Marvel, seemed ordinary enough: a workingman, father, a member of the Baptist church." What distinguished him from everyone else was his ability to float for hours and his willingness to do so in public. Ernest would arrive unannounced, change into his dark bathing trunks, and swim out into deep water where he became The Water Marvel. Lying there as buoyant as a water strider, he seemed suspended between water and sky, eyes closed, meditative. After hours of drifting, he’d swim back in and towel off, chatting amiably with onlookers, just another man enjoying the water. Where his talent came from, no one could tell.