Charles N. Wright, 38, merchant, helped to save R. Augustus Baty, 26, carpenter, from an impending fatal fall, Highlands, North Carolina, May 14, 1911. Baty fell from the summit of Whiteside Mountain, at Fool’s Rock, rolled 150 feet down an almost vertical cliff, and lodged against a small bush two inches from the brink of a precipice 2,000 feet deep. He lay, injured and unconscious, with one arm and one leg hanging over the brink. Wright and a companion descended a vertical ledge 15 feet deep to the sloping cliff and then, crawling slowly, zigzagged down the face of the cliff. There was little vegetation other than patches of slippery moss, except near the base of the cliff where bushes formed a hedge. For 15 feet at one side of Baty and five feet on the other side there were no bushes. The only holds were ridges and hollows not more than an inch in height or depth. Wright was nearly unnerved but continued to a bush six feet above Baty. He let his feet down to a tiny ledge two feet above the brink and then stooped and grasped Baty’s coat collar. Baty gave a sudden jerk, but Wright retained his hold, and he became quiet when Wright threatened him. Wright drew Baty up, grasped the bush above him, and, wrapping his legs around the bush, drew Baty up to a place of comparative safety and then took him five feet to the hedge east of them. Wright and his companion then took Baty, who was delirious, 15 feet across the bare face of the cliff, within inches of the brink, to the hedge east of the open space. Another man had reached that point, and he assisted to get Baty to the foot of the vertical ledge at the summit, from which point Baty was hoisted by means of a line. He recovered. It had taken Wright and his companion two hours and 30 minutes to effect the rescue.7327-840
The same rugged hills that nurtured Charlie Wright of Highlands, N.C., in his youth and brought him fame and a Carnegie Medal 14 years ago claimed his life on Dec. 4, 1927, when the automobile in which he was riding plunged off the highway near Lake Toxaway and was dashed to pieces on the rocks nearly 200 feet below.
In 1911, Wright and William L. Dillard clawed their way down the precipitous sides of Whiteside Mountain in Highlands and rescued R. Augustus Baty, who had been knocked unconscious in a fall over the cliff. For this act of heroism, Wright and Dillard received the Carnegie Medal.
Wright was a son of Barrett Wright, one of the pioneer settlers of Macon County, N.C., and was executor of his father’s large estate. He was supervisor of road and bridge construction in Pisgah National Forest.
(Edited from The Franklin, N.C., Press, Dec. 8, 1927.)