Top 5 Notable Maconites

The city of Macon has been the birthplace or residence of many remarkable people throughout its history.  Here is a list of our Top 5 Notable Maconites worth mentioning.

1.  Rufus W. Youngblood Jr.

Born in Macon in 1924, Rufus W. Youngblood Jr. began his career when he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a navigator on some of America's first bombing raids on Germany.  After the war, he obtained a degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He then joined the Secret Service in March 1951. Initially he dealt with financial fraud in the Atlanta bureau office. In 1953, after having impressed superiors, he was assigned to White House detail.  Mr. Youngblood was the Secret Service agent who flung himself over the front seat and used his body to shield Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. 

2.  Sgt. Rodney Maxwell Davis

Rodney Maxwell Davis was born in Macon on April 7, 1942 and was a 1961 graduate of Appling High School.  Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in August 31, 1961.  Ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in August 1967, he was assigned duty as a Platoon Guide with Company B, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division. On September 6, 1967, he was operating with his unit in the Quang Nam Province on a search and clear mission during Operation Swift, when they were attacked by a large North Vietnamese force. Elements of the platoon were pinned down in a trench line by mortars, heavy automatic and small arms fire. He went from man to man encouraging them on and also returning fire at the same time. An enemy hand grenade fell in the trenches his men were fighting from and without hesitation he threw himself upon the grenade. He saved his fellow Marines in this selfless act and thus earned the nation's highest military decoration: the Medal of Honor.

3.  neva langley fickling

Originally from Lakeland, Florida, Neva came to Macon as a piano major at Wesleyan Conservatory in her sophomore year.  As a young child, Neva developed a keen musical interest and begged her parents to acquire their own piano. Her ability increased rapidly, and she began playing for her church services as well as weddings and funerals. In 1952, the sponsors of the Miss Macon contest asked Wesleyan to offer some nominees for the pageant and Neva, along with several of her classmates, were asked to participate. Thus, at age 19 she became Miss Macon, Miss Georgia, and Miss America with piano performance as her talent. She was crowned Miss America of 1953 and is yet the only Miss America to win all three of the preliminary contests, and the only Miss Georgia to become Miss America.

4.  nanaline holt duke

In contrast to her daughter Doris, Nanaline Holt Inman Duke was not born to wealth. Having been born and raised in Macon, Georgia, in what was sympathetically referred to as “reduced circumstances,”  Nanaline went on to marry her first husband, William Inman who was a prosperous businessman.  After William’s death in 1902, Nanaline went on to marry the U.S. tobacco and electric power industrialist best known for the introduction of modern cigarette manufacturing as well as his philanthropy to Duke University, James Buchanan Duke in 1907, with whom he had his only child, a daughter, Doris, born in 1912.

5.  Wallace McCaw

Wallace McCaw invented a process for hydrogenating cottonseed oil that he manufactured in Macon under the name “Plantene.” His formula was purchased by Proctor and Gamble, who changed the name of the product to Crisco. The company made McCaw one of its vice presidents and relocated him to Cincinnati, Ohio. McCaw would later go on to break precedent within the Colgate family.  For 122 years, only Colgates had directed and managed its perfume, dentifrice and soap company. Standards, however, were broken in 1928 when McCaw became Vice President, Director and General Manager of Colgate & Co.