Charles "Ches" McCartney, the legendary "Goat
Man", was a wanderer, who spent decades
traveling across the country while guiding a massive
iron-wheeled wagon loaded
with pots and pans, pails, bails of hay, car tags
lead by a team of goats. "The Goat Man" entwined
himself in the folklore of rural America for more
than six decades.
The Goat Man lead a very colorful
life. At age 14, having a reputation as an eccentric,
his hometown in Iowa for New York. There he married
a Spanish maiden and became a target for her knife-tossing
act for two years. In the 1930's McCartney hit
the road with his wife and son. His wife later
tired of the travels and returned home to Iowa
McCartney traveled on with his son.
He was somewhat
like a prophet with his long, grey beard and
spreading the word of God to any man, woman or
child who would listen. From 1930 to 1987, legend
has it that he walked 100,000 miles preaching
the gospel in 49 of the nations 50 states. If stories
are true, he has wrestled a bear, was nearly
lynched by the Ku Klux Klan, was once thought dead
taken to the morgue, got ordained as a preacher
and got mugged in LA trying to see actress Morgan
In later years, the Goat Man
retired to Eastview Nursing Home in Macon, Georgia.
There he met Duane
Branam who sang the song he wrote for him "The
Legend". He also met Darryl Patton, the author
of the book "America's Goat Man".
Gene McCartney, Ches' son,
was murdered in 1998. He was found slain in the
woods behind the bus that he called home. Only
5 months later, the Goat Man himself died in Eastview
Nursing Home. He was belived to be 97, but was
rumored to be as old as 120. No one realy knows.
More than 65 friends and acquaintances gathered
to bid him farewell.