One of America's greatest populist leaders, and one of the South's great orators and editorialists, is a native of Thomson. This deep thinker, scholar, author and historian served in the state legislature and was later elected to the U.S. Congress. One of his main planks was that government "should own and operate the means of transportation and communication" -- a slap at what he labeled the rapaciousness of the railroads. There's no question that, between 1906 and 1917, Tom Watson was the dominant force in Georgia politics -- especially through his hard-hitting editorials in his periodicals, the Jeffersonians .
The "Sage of Hickory Hill" is credited with the idea of establishing the rural free mail delivery system. He died, a U.S. senator from Georgia, in 1923.