Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Asa Witham & Rebecca Lane

I appreciate Jan's comment on a previous post in which she shared with me that Asa Witham died 3 February 1779 in Mill Prison, Plymouth, Devon, England.

His capture is verified in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, volume 32, pages 184, 306 and 307.

His death is found in Charles Hebert's book, A Relic of the Revolution, Boston, 1847 (full view available via Google Books).

But what of Asa's widow, Rebecca Lane?

Other folks had her second husband listed as John or Joshua Pilsbury of Newburyport, Massachusetts.  However this is quite impossible, since that particular Rebecca died in 1819 at the age of 77, making her 10 years older than Rebecca Lane, who was baptized in 1751.  Of course, Rebecca Lane may have been 9 or 10 years old at the time of her baptism, however Joshua and Rebecca Pilsbury had a son by 1765.  This means that Joshua could not be the second husband of Rebecca Lane, who married Asa Witham in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts on 24 December 1771.

While searching in Google Books, however, I found a Petition for June 23, 1785 in the "Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, 1784-85" aka "Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts", Boston, printed by Adams and Nourse, Chapter 49, May 1785 session, on pages 650-651. 

The petition says:

Resolve on the Petition of Thomas Ayer and Others, Guardians to Children of Asa Witham, Empowering Them to Enter an Appeal at the Supreme Court of Probate.

On the petition of Thomas Ayer, Joseph Peirce, and Jeremiah Witham, guardians of the orphan children of Asa Witham, late of New Gloucester, deceased:

Resolved, That the prayer of the petition be granted, and that Thomas Ayer, Joseph Peirce and Jeremiah Witham, guardians of the orphan children of Asa Witham, of New Gloucester aforesaid, deceased, be, and they are, hereby authorized and empowered to enter their appeal, in their said capacities, from a decree of William Gorham, Esq., Judge of Probate for the county of Cumberland, upon an account called the second account of Rebecca Bump, late Rebecca Witham, administratrix on the estate of the aforesaid Asa Witham, deceased, at the sitting of the Supreme Court of Probate, on the next Tuesday after the fourth Tuesday of June, 1786, to be holden at Falmouth, in the county of Cumberland, - and to file their reasons as the law directs; - the said guardians giving notice to the adverse party, twenty days before the sitting of the Court aforesaid, by serving her with an attested copy of this resolve; and the Supreme Court of Probate is hereby authorized and required, to receive the said appeal, and determine thereon, in the same manner as if it had been brought before them in the common course of law. June 23, 1785.

So it seems Rebecca's second husband was a Mr. Bump or Bumpus. 

Further research shows that, in all probability, it was Shubael Bumpus, born 18 August 1758 in Wareham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  He was the son of Zephaniah Bumpus and Thankful Gibbs, and therefore a descendant of Richard Warren through his daughter, Mary Warren, who married Robert Bartlett.

Shubael and Rebecca (Lane) Witham had at least 4 children:

Asa W. Bumpus in 1782
Eunice Bumpus in 1784
Benjamin Bumpus in 1791
Hannah Bumpus in 1803

By 1815 he was remarried to a woman named Sarah Cotton, so Rebecca Lane died sometime between 1803 and 1815.

I have not finished researching this second marriage yet, but will continue to do so in hopes of finding a firm date of death for Rebecca (Lane) (Witham) Bumpus.

Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley


  1. I am in the process of transcribing the New Gloucester Vital Records from the scans on the Picton Press CDs. I found the following birth records which may be of interest to you:

    3[right page]
    A Record of Asa Witham’s children
    1. Peter Witham son to Asa Witham by Rebakah Witham his wife was born in the plantation called New Gloucester July 31, 1773
    2. Ebenezer Witham son to Asa Witham by Rebakah Witham his wife was born in New Gloucester June 3, 1775

    Source: A Book of Record of Births for New Gloucester, in County of Cumberland, Commonwealth of Massachusetts From 1771 to 1865. Picton Press CD #2

    I did not find any death records for Asa.

  2. Thank you Will. It is very kind of you to share this source!