CYCLOPEDIA OF NZ 1897
Brightwell, Thomas, Farmer, Wanganui. This old colonist, who was
born in 1814 at Eydon, Northamptonshire, left England in 1834 for North
America, and after farming near Buffalo for a short period, embarked at
New Bedford on a three years' whaling expedition to the South Seas, dipping into New Zealand
waters in December 1837. Landing at the Bay of Islands, he joined the
whaler "Harriett" which on leaving the bay became a total wreck. He then joined the Government cutter "Ranger."
In 1840 he bought some sections at the first land sale of the township
of Auckland. In 1843 he came to Wellington and took land in the Hutt District, but, the Maoris becaming troublesome,
he enrolled in the Militia, serving afterwards in the armed police force. Mr. Brightwell was one of 600 men who
shipped on "HMS Driver," the first steam man-of-war that came to the Colony, and landing at Waikanae, where he was station.ed with thirteen others for eleven months under Sergeant Mills, they captured a party of rebels.
After a stay of twelve years at the Hutt, Mr. Brightwell removed to the Wairarapa, where he spent some years, before
taking up his residence at Wanganui. He is at the time of writing [February 1897],
nearly eighty three, and is still hale and hearty.
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