We put together a list of famous people who hail from our beloved Georgia’s Rome! See how many you recognize!
- Kenneth Pernell Irvin was born in Rome, Georgia on July 11, 1972. After attending the University of Memphis, Ken was drafted into the National Football League. From 1995-2001, he played for the Buffalo Bills. He spent 2002 with the New Orleans Saints, then 2003-2005 with the Minnesota Vikings.
- Delbert Leon Culberson (1919-1989) played professional baseball as an outfielder in the Major Leagues from 1943-1948. Born in Halls, Georgia, Culberson played for the Boston Red Sox from 1943 to 1947, then the Washington Senators during the year 1948. During his career, he had a batting average of .266 with 14 homeruns and an RBI of 131. Leon died in Rome, GA in 1989.
- Ray Donaldson was born in 1958 in Rome, Georgia. He attended East Rome High School where he received the All-American and All-State honors and the University of Georgia. He was drafted into the NFL in 1980 and played for the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, and the Dallas Cowboys, where he assisted in the XXX Super Bowl Championship win. Ray was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
- Nat Hudson was born in Rome, Georgia and attended West Rome High School where he played football. He was drafted into the National Football League in 1981 to play first for the New Orleans Saints then the Baltimore Colts.
- Charlie Culberson was born in Rome, Georgia in 1989. Charlie was drafted into Major League Baseball from Calhoun High School, going first to the San Fransisco Giants then to the Colorado Rockies. In 2017, he was drafted to the Atlanta Braves. Charlie has a batting average of .233 and an RBI of 45.
- Carl Knowles was a professional boxer who was born in Rome, Georgia in 1913. During the 1940’s, Knowles was one of the top 10 Lightheavy Weight boxing champions of the world. He retired from the sport in 1964 and is buried in Oaknoll Cemetery.
- Mike Hogan is best known for being a running back for the National Football League. Born in Rome, Georgia in 1954, Mike graduated from high school in Rome and went to college at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. During his time in the NFL, Mike played for the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers, the New York Giants, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Mike Theodore “Stinger” Glenn graduated from Coosa High School in 1973 and went on to be drafted into the National Basketball Association. Born in Rome, Georgia in 1955, Mike played point guard for the Buffalo Braves, the New York Knicks, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Howard “Doc” Ayers is best known for his career as a football coach. Born in Rome, Georgia in 1922, Ayers became the assistant coach to Vince Dooley at the University of Georgia.
- Betty Gountain played on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1949 as part of the Springfield Sallies team. She was born in Rome, Georgia. In 1988, the League was given a dedicated memorial at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
- Major Ridge was a prominent Cherokee leader in the late 1700s-early 1800s. Born in Great Hiwassee (Tennessee), Ridge and his family settled into the confluence of the Oostanaula and Etowah rivers (the Coosa) in what is now Rome. A former prominent Cherokee warrior, Ridge became a plantation owner and ferryman. Ridge was also part of the group who signed the Treaty of New Echota, believing it was the best course of action in preserving Cherokee culture. Ridge was assassinated by a group who held him and his family responsible for the deaths that occurred along the Trail of Tears. His home in Rome was turned into “The Chieftains Museum” in the 1970s in order to preserve the historical value of his memory.
- Martha McChesney Berry was the founder of what is now known as Berry College- a small, private
liberal arts college in North Georgia. Born in 1865 to planter Thomas Berry in Alabama, the family relocated to Rome during Martha’s infancy. Never married, Ms. Berry devoted her life to the education of young people beginning with the children of poor landowners and tenant farmers to what is now Berry College.
- Eugene Theodore Booth, Jr. was a nuclear physicist. He was born in Rome, Georgia in 1912 and studied physics at the University of Georgia. Most famously, Booth was part of the team at Columbia University that made the first demonstration of nuclear fission in the U.S. Booth also worked on various studies during the Manhattan Project. During his extensive career, Booth was the scientific director of the SCALANT Research Center in Italy.
- Edgar Bowers was born in Rome, Georgia in 1924. During World War II, Bowers was a member of the Counter-Intelligence led against Germany. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bowers studied graduate-level English literature at Stanford. Bowers became a renowned American poet who won the Bolligen Prize for his poetry in 1989.
- Tommie Florence Brown was the lead plaintiff of 12 in “Brown verses the Board of Commissioners of Chattanooga,” which the plaintiffs won in 1989.
- John William Davis is best known for his career as a politician and lawyer. He was born near Rome, Georgia and graduated from The University of Georgia with an A.B from the School of Law. After passing the bar in 1039, Davis practiced law in Rome. In 1960, Davis won the election of the 87th Congress as part of the Democratic Party that represented Georgia’s 7th congressional district.
- Charles Fahy was a famous American lawyer who served as a United States federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Elected by Harry S. Truman in April of 1950, Fahy served until leaving office in 1967.
- William S. Herndon was a U.S. Representative who was born in Rome, Georgia. He moved to Texas in May 1852 where he served as Representative for the United States.
- John Henry Lumpkin is best known for his career as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the mid- 1800s. Born in Lexington, Georgia, Lumpkin attended Franklin College then Yale. Lumpkin died in Rome, Georgia and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.
- Noah Walter Parden was born in 1968 in Rome, Georgia. Parden is most famous for being one of the first African American attorneys to lead a case before the United States Supreme Court.
- John Ross served as Principal Chief of the Cherokee nation from 1828-1866.
- Ellen Axson Wilson is best known for her role as the 23rd First Lady of the United States. Wilson married former President Woodrow Wilson in 1885. Born in Savannah, Georgia, Wilson grew up in Rome where she developed her art skills. She died in the White House in 1914.
- George Stephen Morrison is most famous for having been a commander of the US. Naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August of 1964. He was also the father of Jim Morrison, the lead singer of rock band of The Doors. Admiral Morrison was born in Rome, Georgia in 1919.
- Albert Edmondson Jarrell is best known for his work as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy. Born in Rome, Georgia in 1901, Jarrell was served active duty in the United States Navy for 34 years. During his service, Jarrell won many awards and decorations, such as the Navy Cross, The Legion of Merit, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal.
- Admiral John Henry Towers is known as the father of naval aviation and was born in Rome, Georgia in 1885. Admiral Towers made significant advances in the technical progress of naval aviation and eventually served as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. He also commanded task forces during World War II. His medals and special recognitions include the Legion of Merit, the Gray Eagle Award, The Navy Cross, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. You can find a memorial to Admiral Towers on Broad Street in Downtown Rome, Georgia.
- Ed Corbin is an American actor who was born in Rome, Georgia in 1963. He is best known for his supporting roles in To Protect and Serve (2001), Chrystal (2004) and True Grit (2010).
- Jamie Barton was born in Rome, Georgia in 1981. Her first performance was in a talent show at Armuchee Elementary School. After obtaining her Master’s degree from Indiana University in voice performance, Jamie went on to perform for the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in Verdi’s La Traviata, then spent some time with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Since then, Jamie has had an incredible and impressive career as a mezzo-soprano.
- Ann Cornelisen was an American expatriate writer who brought spry and steely language to her evocative books about poverty-stricken southern Italy, where she lived for over 20 years – helping to establish 300 nurseries for Save the Children, a nonprofit organization. Her friend, Frances Mayes, dedicated her most famous book to Ann – Under the Tuscan Sun. Ann wrote several books based on her life in Italy and the plight of Italian women – such as Torregreca, Women of the Shadows, Where it all Began and novels such as Any Four Women Can Rob the Bank of Italy, and Vendetta of Silence. Arriving in Italy in 1954, Ann was an independent woman before her time – she smoked, drove a car, occasionally drank at the village bar, and quickly became known as an eccentric and lively character.
- Charles Henry Smith wrote humorous letters during the Civil War under the pseudonym, Bill Arp. He practiced law in Rome, Georgia, where he lived at Oak Hill before selling it to Andrew M. Sloan. (Sloan later sold the estate to prominent Rome resident Thomas Berry in 1871.) Other letters were published by Southern newspapers intermittently throughout the war. They pleaded the case for the Southern cause while joking about the hardships of white Southerners in wartime. Smith served as a major in the 8th Georgia Infantry Regiment and on the staffs of several Confederate generals.
- Calder Willingham was an American novelist, playwright and screenwriter. Novels “Eternal Fire” and “Rambling Rose” were both loosely based on experiences in Rome (Eternal Fire has a setting at Myrtle Hill, and Rambling Rose is a “biography” of his teenage years spent in Rome. He also wrote the screenplays for Paths of Glory, One-Eyed Jacks, The Graduate, Little Big Man and Rambling Rose; and uncredited for the screenplays of The Bridge on the River Kwai and Spartacus.
- Alice Rumph was a famous artist who was born in Rome, Georgia in 1877. She is best known for her watercolors, pastels, and etchings. Rumph was instrumental in the founding of the Birmingham Art Club, which later became the Birmingham Museum of Art. You can see her work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.
- Frankie Welch was born in Rome, Georgia in 1922. She is most prominently known for her fashion
designs. Welch designed popular scarves for political figures such as First Lady Betty Ford. Such designs are now on display at the Smithsonian’s First Ladies’ Hall in the National Museum of American History and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.
- David Muse was born in Rome, Georgia in 1949. He became a singer, composer, producer, and songwriter and is known for having toured with bands such as Firefall and The Marshall Tucker Band.