Top 5 Surprising Facts About Macon - Part 5

There are many exciting things to learn about our fair city.  Think you know everything about the City within a Park?  Test your knowledge with this week's installment of TOP 5 Surprising Facts About Macon.

1.  macon, georgia is first jurisdiction to secure a rico indictment

In 1976, the Federal Racketeering trial of the Dixie Mafia, an organized crime group located in middle Georgia, was held in Macon.  The Dixie Mafia, sometimes referred to the Cornbread Mafia or Hillbilly Mob, was a loosely-fitting “catch-all” term for any non-Italian continuing criminal enterprise operating in America’s southern states.  What began as a federal probe into the Allman Brothers Band narcotics activity resulted in the high-profile criminal conviction of band-entourage leader John (Scooter) Herring and ex-pharmacist Joe Fuchs on federal drug distribution charges. Next, J.C. Hawkins was tried and was convicted of an array of RICO predicates (arson, counterfeiting, running a car-theft and truck-hijacking ring, extortion, drug trafficking and insurance fraud).  At the conclusion of his trial, Federal Prosecutors won, putting Macon on the map for securing a win in the nation’s first case based on the RICO statue.  


2.  Macon Reporter and Journalist Hired to coach actors in the ways of the old south on the set of gone with the wind

Susan Dowdell Myrick was born at Dovedale, a family plantation in Baldwin County near Milledgeville.  A journalist and reporter for the Macon Telegraph for almost a half a century, Myrick is best known as the technical advisor for the film Gone With the Wind (1939).  In 1928, Myrick met Gone With the Wind writer Margaret Mitchell at the Georgia Press Institute in Macon and later became close friends.  Myrick was tapped as technical director because of her vast knowledge of the history and customs of plantation life.  Myrick, at the request of her friend Margaret Mitchell, served as "Arbiter of manners and customs of times as well as [to] tutor members of cast both white and Negro in accent, [according to the] characteristics of each class and time" during filming. 

3.  brett butler was employed at the macon telegraph

In the late 1970’s, actress and comedian Brett Butler was the first woman hired at the Macon Telegraph to hold the position of circulation district manager.  Butler later went on to become a two-time Golden Globe nominee for her role in the TV comedy “Grace Under Fire.

4.  the inventor of the personal computer and inspiration for microsoft lived in middle Georgia

Dr. Henry Roberts was an American engineer, entrepreneur and medical doctor who invented the first commercially successful personal computer in 1975.  He is most often known as "the father of the personal computer".  He founded Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in 1970 and the first successful product was an electronic calculator kit that was featured on the cover of the November 1971 issue of Popular Electronics.  The calculators were very successful and sales topped one million dollars in 1973.  Microsoft founder, Bill Gates joined MITS to develop software and Altair BASIC was Microsoft's first product. Roberts sold MITS in 1977 and retired to Georgia where he farmed, studied medicine and eventually became a small-town doctor living in Cochran, Georgia.  Roberts attended Mercer University School of Medicine and was part of the inaugural class and graduated with an M.D. in 1986.  In 2010 as Dr. Roberts lay dying at the Medical Center of Central Georgia suffering from pneumonia, Bill Gates flew down to be at his bedside.



5.  macon telegraph once experimented with different methods of news delivery

According to the Macon Telegraph’s story, 185 things you may have not known about The Telegraph and Macon, “The Telegraph is the third-largest newspaper in Georgia, after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Augusta Chronicle.  When the newspaper office on Broadway opened in 1961, Peyton Anderson, owner and publisher of The Macon Telegraph and The Macon News, had a helicopter pad built on the roof. The News, the afternoon paper, experimented with delivering papers by helicopter, but the idea was eventually dropped.”

for more surprises about macon, georgia check out our other installments of facts...

top 5 surprising facts about macon - part 2

top 5 surprising facts about macon - part 1