The rhyme is not present in any of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century collections published in Britain. The first surviving version of the rhyme was published in Mother Goose's Quarto: or Melodies Complete, in Boston, Massachusetts around 1825. However, a verse collected from Aberdeen, Scotland and published in 1868 had the words:
Peter, my neeper,
Had a wife,
And he couidna' keep her,
He pat her i' the wa',
And lat a' the mice eat her.
As a result it is possible that the verse was an older one adapted to include pumpkins in America. This verse is also considered to be an older version of the rhyme Eeper Weeper.
^ abcI. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 333-4.
^I. Opie and P. Opie, Children's games with things: marbles, fivestones, throwing and catching, gambling, hopscotch, chucking and pitching, ball-bouncing, skipping, tops and tipcat (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 180.