John Whitcomb (1711 - 1785)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Lancaster, MA, USA
Death: Died in Bolton, MA, USA
Occupation: Colonel in French/Indian War, Fought @Lake George, Brig. General in Revolutionary War., Colonel of French/Indian Wars & Brig.-Gen. of the Revolutionary Army.
Managed by: Matthew Kelty
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About John Whitcomb

John was "Perhaps Bolton's [MA] most illustrious colonial patriot. He was a lieutenant as early as 1748 when he sent troops from Lancaster after a band of murderous savages fleeing for Canada. By 1755, he was a Lt.-Colonel and fought at Crown Point, Lake George and Ticonderoga. By the early 1770s, he was a Colonel in the Lancaster Minutemen. In 6/1775, he was commissioned as the first Major-General of the Massachusetts Army by the third Provincial Congress. He led part of the battle line at Lechmere Point at the battle of Bunker Hill.

He was commissioned a Brigadier-General in the Continental Army but refused a subsequent request by Washington that would have put him in command of all forces in Massachusetts. Several of his sons marched to Concord, where on 4/19/1775 they took part in the pursuit of retreating British forces.

It is believed that although limestone was found on the Whitcomb properties on the east end of Bolton, that the first quarrying of limestone and the production of lime was started in the 1730s at the Whitcomb Lime Quarry ( the second limestone quarry in New England) by John.

[above excerpted from the "Narrative History of Bolton," published by the Bolton Historical Commission, www.historicalcommission.town.bolton.ma.us/main/history.html].

John, as eldest son, inherited his father's homestead. According to Henry S. Nourse who wrote "A Forgotten Patriot," John Whitcomb came into possession of the homestead "on which limestone had been discovered". When (Gen.) John became of age in 1733, he received his inheritance and was soon engaged in the quarrying and burning of lime, which provided him with a substantial income until his death in 1785 ["Whitcomb Farm History," Bolton Conservation Trust, (http://www.boltonconservationtrust.org/Trails/Horton/Whitcomb.htm)].

From The Military Annals of Lancaster, MA 1740-1865, p. 25 : During the Indian raids, Lt. John Whitcomb of Bolton was listed on the roll of Capt. Ephraim Wilder dated 7/7/1748. On pg. 32, during the French and Indian War, Sgt. John Whitcomb is recorded as serving from April-Nov., 1754 with Col. John Winslow on the eastern frontier in the companies of Phineas Osgood and of Eleazar Melvin.

He was at the Lexington Alarm and the Battle of Bunker Hill [MA Soldiers and Sailors, Vol. 16, p. 1034 and Vol. 17, p. 31].

p. 118, "Honorable John Whitcomb, Esq. of Bolton, was on 2/15/1775 added to the list of Generals chosen by the Provincial Congress. At the first council of war convened at Cambridge the day after the Concord fight, he was one of 3 general officers present. On 6/13/1775 he was elected the first Major General of the Massachusetts army. On 6/5/1776, he was commissioned Brigadier General in the Continental Army.

He was a justice of the peace. John served as representative to the General Court. He was elected to the council from 1776-1780.

His second wife was Rebecca ("Becca") Whitcomb whom he married on 2/3/1745. She died in 1804 at age 76.

John is buried in the Old South Burial Ground in Bolton. He has the only slate marker that could be called a "portrait stone", a type of marker often used for the graves of the most important citizens of a town in the late eighteenth century. This handsome marker is engraved with Esq. and not General. It has some simple architectural elements, and an early double willow-like image which arches over a portrait head, complete with wig, although no clothing has been carved [http://www.historicalcommission.town.bolton.ma.us/main/oldsouth.html]

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Brig. Gen. John Whitcomb's Timeline

1711
February 20, 1711
Lancaster, MA, USA
1735
June 12, 1735
Age 24
Lancaster, MA, USA
1735
Age 23
Bolton, Massachusetts, United States
1737
1737
Age 25
1738
January 20, 1738
Age 26
Bolton, Worcester, MA
1739
1739
Age 27
1743
1743
Age 31
1749
January 26, 1749
Age 37
Massachusetts, United States
1785
November 17, 1785
Age 74
Bolton, MA, USA
????
Bolton, Worcester, MA