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10) Maxie Wright-Duke

 
 
 
 
 
 
Maxie has been a tireless worker recording and preserving the historical aspects of Walhalla.  The magintude of civic and church projects she has been involved with would rival Hercules.  To understand Maxie's dedication, courage, and tenacity requires knownledge of the example of accomplishments of her parents who provided the heritage for her and her syblings. 
 
A Family of Heroes 
 
                                                                                                         
 
 
 
    Charlie Wright -
 
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13
 
   While Charlie Wright didn't have to give his life for a friend he was willing too.  For his extrodinary valor and courage he was awarded The Carnegie Hero Award.  This was the first gold medal ever awarded by the Carnegie Foundation.  
    
 
 
 
   The Carnedgie Hero Fund Commission, also known as Carnegie Fund, was established to recognize persons who perform extrordinary acts of heroism in civilian life in the United States and Canada, and to provide financial assistance for those disabled and the dependents of those killed or attempting to save others.
                                                                                                                  - Wikipedia
 
  The event meriting this recognition is wonderfully chonololized by two YouTube video created by Heart of the High Country found at 
 
  The two videos specific to this event are:
   Rescue on Whiteside part 1 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD3fix-k9Tg
   Rescue on Whiteside part 2 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=alWJOa6joVc
 
 
   After being petitioned by supporters of Charlie Wright, the Andrew Carnegie Hero Award Commission sent a representative was Highsland.  He talked to those involved  and others in the community.  After being taken to Whitside and Fool's Rock, the investigator quickly back away allowing that he had seen enough.  Charlie Wright was awarded a gold metal, the first ever awarded  by The Carnegie Foundation.  He was also given a cash award of two thousand dollars.
 
   With this money he bought a two-story frame house on Main Street along with a few areas of land.  On December 24, 1927, Charlie then 54 was killed in an auto accident.  It was thought that Charlie's momentary attention to a faulty bearing on the left back wheel may have contributed to this accident.  The car swerved and rolled down a high embankment.  Charlie was killed instantly.   
 
 
   Helen Cabe-Wright - 
 
Two years after Charlie's car accident tragedy again struck Helen Wright.  After her husband's death, Helen found herself in dire straits.  Widowed with five children, ages 15 to 6 months --Maxie was the least--, Helen struggled through a depression with little education, had her family home destroied by fire, yet sent all her children who would and could to college.
 
The family's home burned to the ground.  This house located on Main Street, was purchased with the money from the Carnegie Foundation.  It is said that Helen pleaded with the volunteer firemen to keep water focused on the corner of a bed room where she knew the gold metal was kept in a trunk.  The solid gold medal was salvaged but required some restoration by a jeweler to return it to its original condition.
  
A new house was built at the same location.  The new house was similar to the house it replaced.  Helen remarried S. A. Wilson who had been a friend of Charlie's and shared Helen's respect and admiration for him.
 
For years Helen, as Helen Wilson, operated Helen's Barn, which over a period of 50+ years  became legendary as a gathering place for good times in a true Southern fashion.  Helen's Barn was host to square dancers and skilled cloggers (aka, buck dancers) from the Southeast and ponits beyond. 
 
Helen died in 1959 at thhe age of sixty-seven.  The medal which she cherished was passed to her son, Chester Wright, who lived in Greenwood, Sout Carolina. 
 
 Helen's Barn -
   The Helen's Barn saga began in 1932 and lasted 50 plus years.  Drugs and the changing demographics bought this story to an end.
 
 
    Maxie Wright-Duke  (Untold Story) -
 
  Maxie in her modest and asuming manner, requested that her story not be include with her parents because she feels herself less worthly of their company in this Unsung Heroes section.  We should remember that Maxie was selected for this write-up on her own merits and her parent's just complement her story.   
 
 
**********  In Progress  *********
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