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Page content last modified: May 25, 2009, added snapshot of Grace and Clarence, about 1930.
September 1, 2007, added obituaries.



BERYL GRACE WRIGHT (nee McGEE) 1887-1952



A newspaper photograph of the automobile wreckage.
The tragic violence of this county's worst highway tragedies in many years is captured by the photographic lens of Miss Evelyn Kamm, LaHarpe community high school faculty member, in the picture above, taken only minutes after this Elvaston and Fountain Green cars were smashed in a head-on collision east of Carthage last Tuesday evining.  Dead in the crash are Clarence Wright of Fountin Green, an employe of the Hancock county highway department; Chellis Hainline, also of Fountain Green; and W. L. "Red" Miller of Elvaston, widely known highway construction contractor.

Miss Kamm was driving from Carthage to her home at Plymouth and was among the first to reach the wreck scene.

The picture shows the Miller car at left, a 1952 model Oldsmobile, with its driver, Charles Miller, still in a sitting position under the wheel.  His father was killed outright, but the 18-year-old son was taken to Memorial hospital in Carthage, where at last report he was showing encouraging signs of recovery.

The mangled wreckage at right in the photo is what remains of the 1950 Ford owned and driven by Mr. Wright.  The was the death car for him and Chellis Hainline.  The latter's daughter, Elgin Hainline, is still in very serious condition in the Carthage hospital.  When this photo was snapped, an ambulance had just left the scene with Mr. Hainline, who died at 9:30 that night, and his daughter, bound for the Memorial hospital

By-standers are removing the body of Wright to another car in the left background of the picture. Charles Miller lies badly hurt in his car at left and the body of his father lies on a blanket on the ground, barely visible in the lower left corner of the photograph.  On the pavement are bloodstains, adding their ghastly note of horror to the death scene.

This news clipping with the accompanying text, from unknown original source, is from a scrapbook kept by James Chellis McGee, Clarence's brother-in-law, shared by Cynthia McGee Jackson.

Grace and Clarence with niece, Colleen,
and their son, Robert, about 1930.

The Hancock County Journal
August 21, 1952, page 1, column 2

Last Rites Held For Clarence Wright

Clarence Wright, a lifelong resident of the Webster and Fountain Green communities, met death very suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday evening, August 19, 1952 about 5:30 o'clock in a head-on auto collision on U. S. Highway 136 some 4 miles east of Carthage, Ill.

Mr. Wright was born at Webster, December 25, 1885, the son of Skelt and Hettie (Winney) Wright, his age being 66 years, 7 months and 24 days.

His boyhood days were spent in the Webster vicinity where he received his education in the public school.

In April 1907* he was married to Miss Grace Beryle McGee of Fountain Green

where the new home was established and maintained throughout the ensuing forty-five years.

To this union was born one daughter, Genevieve, now Mrs. Ivan Latherow of Fountain Green. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wright were deeply devoted to this only daughter, and gave her every advantage within their power to bestow.  They were equally devoted to and proud of their two grandchildren, Corporal Robert L. Latherow now with the 25th Infantry of the U. S. Army attached to the Inspector Generals Office, serving in Korea and Miss Carolyn Latherow of Fountain Green.

In addition to the daughter and son-in-law, Mr. Wright is survived by one brother, Gay Wright of near La Harpe, and three sisters, Mrs. J. C. Whitten of Fountain Green, Mrs. Harvey Long of Bushnell and Mrs. Ralph Weir of Macomb.  He was preceded in death by one brother who died in infancy, his father who passed away many years ago, his mother in 1942 and his wife, who passed on in January of this year.

Having always been interested in machinery, and being quite skillful as a mechanic, Clarence or "Goody" as he has long been familiarly known to family and friends, while quite a young man found employment as an engineer with various threshing crews in the days when grain was harvested with threshing machines powered by steam engines.  Shortly after automobiles came into vogue his mechanical ability was directed toward a job as mechanic in a local garage, this leading to his later operating a garage of his own for a number of years.

Some twenty-five years ago he became an employee of the Hancock County Highway Department, a position he held ever since.  During all these years he has been one of the departments most dependable employees, being on the job practically everyday until his wife's serious illness last winter forced him to remain away from work for a few weeks.  In his spare time he cared for his lawn and garden, keeping both in perfect condition.

Not only was Mr. Wright a very industrious person, he was also a faithful husband and father and a good neighbor of a guiet and unassuming nature, his main interests were his work and his home, his only outside interest being that of school director, a position which he held for quite a number of years.

The Carthage Republican
September 3, 1952, page 6, column 2

This community has been greatly saddened during the past two weeks by at least four deaths of people well known here.

The sudden and tragic death of Clarence Wright and Chellis Hainline in the terrible auto wreck on U. S. Highway 136 some four and one-half miles east of Carthage just two weeks ago was a great shock to everyone.  Mr. Miller of Elvaston, who was killed in the same wreck was likewise well known to many in this community.  The funerals of all three of these men were attended by large crowds of friends and relatives with many beautiful flowers at each funeral.

Just a few days after the death of the wreck victims, two other men who had spent many years of their lives in this neighborhood passed on, namely Silas Conn of the Majorville vicinity on August 21 and Frank Wright of Macomb, the following day, August 22.  Both had been in poor health for some time.  Funeral services and interment for both men were held at Majorville with a large number of friends, relatives and former neighbors attending.

We extend sympathy to the families of all of these men who have been called away from their homes in such rapid succession in recent weeks.

*Grace and Goody were married April 20, 1908.

The above obituaries were transcribed and shared by Larry Coleman.

See also: Grace McGee Wright
Skelton Wright & Harriet Kinney
Genevieve Wright


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