Most everywhere I went online, I read essentially the same thing:

“Otis Redding was born on September 9th, 1941 in Dawson, Georgia to Fannie Roseman Redding & Otis Ray Redding, Sr. His family moved shortly after to Macon where his father took a job at Robins Air Force Base…”

It all sounds good and well but here’s the thing: his parents were sharecroppers. His grandparents were sharecroppers. They all worked the same plantation. There was no way they could afford to go into the city for a birth.

So, I did some digging. Here’s what I found:

The answer: Otis Redding was presumed to have been born in his parents’
home on the Laing plantation lands near Rt. 55 & County Rt. 3 around Clark’s Mill, Georgia, 7 miles south of Dawson, Georgia (9.3 miles from the center of Dawson).

How did I find out where Otis Redding was born?

I found out on my second try by contacting Jonathan Gould, the author of “Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life” via email. The book has quickly become the definitive Otis Redding biography. To my astonishment, he wrote me back within the hour.

I initially wrote to him.

Here was his reply (published with his permission):

We’ve actually emailed a few times over the last few days.

He’s uncovered some pretty incredible stories while researching Otis Redding. If time and schedules allow, I hope to take some of those stories and compile them into a really nice interview.

Here’s a sample of some cool stories Jonathan Gould shares from his book:

Not only is he a nice guy, but he also saved me from having to dig through Census records and guess about Redding’s background – which would have been my fourth try.

For the record, my third try would have been to contact the Otis Redding Foundation. My first try was to contact

The website was a bust. Their contact form / help link takes you to I used the form and got a reply from the media company saying they don’t have direct contact with “Otis Redding.” After I made a joke about needing a time machine or some seriously strong smelling salts to raise Otis from the dead, the error for which they promptly apologized, they let me know they only run the shop. Subdomain. At that point, I found it easier to contact Mr. Gould than it was to try to contact a website that has many, many issues at the moment.

Where the Hell is Clark’s Mill, Georgia?

If you went looking for Clark’s Mill, Georgia on Google Maps or Wikipedia and didn’t find it, don’t worry. I didn’t find it there either. I only found it at:

PS: I’ve enjoyed reading “Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life” so far.

Not only is it a deep, thorough read, but it’s helped me learn how to use the Kindle app. Go check it out.

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