Mr. Luther Brightful’s name is alternatively spelled Brightwell, Brightfull and Brightful. His death certificate reads “Brightful” and therefore we use that spelling here.
Mr. Brightful was born to Mr. Harper and Mrs. Mary (Hill) Brightwell/Brightfull/Brightful. The couple were enslaved by Mr. Ezra Buckey. Therefore, infant Luther was enslaved, along with at least three of his siblings. Among his siblings was Mrs. Elizabeth (Brightful) Bruce. The 1850 Slave Schedules shows the small, enslaved Brightful family.
When Mr. Ezra Buckey died in 1858, the 9-year-old Luther was enslaved by his enslaver’s son, Mr. Daniel Buckey. He is not found in official records again until the 1880 Census. At age 30, Mr. Brightful/Brightwell is living again with his parents and seven of his siblings. He is working as a servant for a private family. The large Brightwell/Brightful family is living in a house that Mr. Ezra Buckey had provided in his will. The house was only for Mr. Harper Brightwell’s use during his lifetime. The property reverted to the Buckey estate upon Luther’s father’s death in 1882. It’s not known where the family moved to following this sad event.
We find them next in the 1900 Census. The family is now spelling their name, “Brightful.” Mr. Luther Brightful lived with his widowed mother and brother, Howard, on Union Street. The two single men worked as plumbers. Another brother, Mr. James Brightful, lived next door with his wife and two children.
In 1902, Mr. Brightful married a woman named Mary Catherine, who was known as “Kitty.” She had four living children from her previous marriage. They lived on Union street, and he worked as a general laborer. Unfortunately, she died in 1914.
Mr. Luther Brightful moved into his sister’s home, again working as a servant in a private household. He may have continued to live on Union Street following her death in 1925.
He died in the summer of 1930, of tuberculosis. Mr. Luther Brightful is buried in Ellsworth Cemetery. His grave is currently unmarked.
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