Ches McCartney

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Charles "Ches" McCartney, (1901?-1998) also known as the Goat Man, was an American itinerant wanderer who traveled up and down the eastern United States from 1930 to 1968 in a ramshackle wagon pulled by a team of goats. He claimed to have covered more than 100,000 miles and visited all states except Hawaii. He was a familiar sight to many travelers and vacationers during those years, and one difficult to not notice or remember.

The main sources for biographical information about McCartney are McCartney himself and his son, and some of the often-colorful details vary. McCartney was the subject of numerous newspaper articles over the years, many of which are collected in the book America's Goat Man (Mr. Ches McCartney).

Early years

Born around the turn of the twentieth century (the exact year is unknown), McCartney ran away from his family's Iowa farm home at age 14.

In New York he met and married a Spanish knife thrower ten years his senior and became part of her act, serving as near-miss target. When she became pregnant they tried to make a living as farmers, but were wiped out at the start of the Great Depression. She left one day before dawn. McCartney married at least two more times.

At some point, while working for the WPA cutting timber, an injury from a falling tree left McCartney's left arm twisted. He was initially thought to have died in the accident, but he awakened on a mortician's table as the undertaker inserted an embalming needle in his arm.

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