Dr Jasper Harrison “Jap” Brightwell

Dr Jasper Harrison “Jap” Brightwell

Oglethorpe County, Georgia, USA
Death 23 Nov 1906 (aged 65)
Maxeys, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, USA
Burial Oglethorpe County, Georgia, USA
Memorial ID 171690609 · View Source
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Dr. Jasper Harrison BRIGHTWELL
Co K "Oglethorpe Rifles" 8th Georgia Infantry

The Doctor was but a lowly Private - but his expertise was evidently well-known and highly valued. He was summoned by Dr.William Huston Prioleau, Medical Purveyor, CSA to report to Savannah to assist with collection and preservation of indigenous plants....

Special Orders No. 193; Paragraph XXVIII, dated August 19, 1862.
"XXVIII. Hospital Steward J. H. Brightwell will proceed without delay to Savannah Georgia, and report to Medical Purveyor Prioleau, for the purpose of collecting and preserving indigenous plants." https://catalog.archives.gov/id/7403399 - image 33.

Jasper Harrison Brightwell was born 7 Dec 1840 in the small town of Maxeys, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

Sometime prior to 1859, the young Brightwell became associated with Dr. Lindsey Durham of Athens, GA. Dr. Durham had graduated from the Philadelphia Medical School and worked at Bartram's Botanical Gardens (1816-1820) where he learned to produce medicines from roots and herbs. Dr Durham traveled to France to obtain seeds for medicinal plants and planted 13 acres of medicinal herbs on the grounds of his home. Soon, people were arriving from all over to receive treatment and the doctor become very wealthy. He reportedly preferred payment in gold, which he kept in a large trunk.

In April 1860, after successfully completing the required series of lectures and demonstrating satisfactory deportments in the community, Jasper H. Brightwell, at age 19, was graduated from the Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, GA.)

"The examination of the candidates for graduation have developed a degree of proficiency beyond the average, and it is with great satisfaction that the Faculty present the following list of names of those upon whom they recommend you to confer the degree of doctor of medicine: ....J. H. Brightwell, Georgia...**"​

Private, Company K 8th Georgia Infantry
Despite his degree and medical experience, Jasper H Brightwell enlisted as a Private on 15 May 1861 at Maxeys GA in the "Oglethorpe Rifles." (It is not known why he was not made Surgeon or Asst Surgeon.)

The company was accepted into the service of Col Francis S. Bartow's 8th Georgia Infantry as Co K. They left home on 28 May 1861 and arrived at Richmond, Va. on June 1st. Just seven weeks later, on July 21st at Manassas, sixteen members of the Oglethorpe Rifles were wounded. Several were noted for conspicuous bravery on that field..... including Pvt J H Brightwell.

August 19,1862, soon after the Seven Days Battles, while serving as a Hospital Steward in Virginia, the subject of this article, Jasper Harrison Brightwell, was summoned to Savannah to assist Dr William Huston Prioleau. (see image above Spec Orders 193; XXVII) Prioleau was appointed Medical Purveyor Aug 4, 1862 and built a Laboratory at Macon for the preparation of indigenous remedies.

Although Dr. Prioleau continued his work in Macon through 1865, Jasper H Brightwell apparently grew restless. He returned to his regiment, the 8th Georgia, in time to participate in the Battle of Gettysburg where he was wounded in the foot on July 2, 1863. Thomas D. Gilham, who served alongside Brightwell in Co K 8th Georgia Infantry, said:

"J. H. Brightwell was one of those reckless men, who knew no fear, and would needlessly expose himself. He was detailed in the medical department about a year when he returned and was wounded soon after, on the 2nd of July 1863 in the heel (at Gettysburg.) Jap, as we called him, was one of the most liberal hearted men in the Company, and was a warm friend to the writer, and I never called on Jap for a favor that I did not get it. He is now practicing his profession in Oconee County." ​

After the war, Brightwell returned to northeast Georgia where he engaged in the practice of medicine. In June 1870, he was appointed Census Marshall in Maxeys, Oglethorpe County. By 1884, he was a likely candidate for the Legislature.

In 1876, he married Sarah Evaline "Evie" Wray (b.1 Dec 1855-d.16 Aug 1902); the couple had no children.

By 1889, Brightwell and a group of associates marketed "Botanic Blood Balm," a medicinal product claimed to cure blood poison.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 47, Part 2, 1906, page 2030, Dr. Jasper H Brightwell died November 23, 1906 at his home in Maxeys, Ga. Family notes indicate he was buried in the Wm B Brightwell cemetery, Oglethorpe Co. GA.

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  • Created by: On the Trail
  • Added: 22 Oct 2016
  • Find a Grave Memorial 171690609
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Jasper Harrison “Jap” Brightwell (7 Dec 1840–23 Nov 1906), Find a Grave Memorial no. 171690609, citing Brightwell Family Cemetery, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by On the Trail (contributor 47231429) .