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About Jonathan Bourne, Jr.
Jonathan Bourne, Jr. (February 23, 1855 – September 1, 1940) was an American politician, attorney, and businessman. A native of Massachusetts, he moved to Portland, Oregon, where he became a lawyer and an industrialist with holdings in mining, mills, and agriculture. As a Republican he served two terms in the Oregon House of Representatives and was elected the United States Senator from Oregon.
Jonathan Bourne was born on February 23, 1855, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He was educated at private schools before enrolling at Harvard University where he attended from 1875 to 1877. Bourne then sailed for Asia where his ship wrecked off of the island of what was then called Formosa in 1877. After rescue, he arrived in Portland, Oregon, in 1878. He studied law there and was admitted to the bar in 1881, and then practiced in Portland from 1881 to 1886. An industrialist, he had interests in mining, farming, cotton mills, and commercial enterprises. Bourne was married three times.
Bourne was a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 1885 to 1886, representing Multnomah County. He returned to the House in 1897, representing District 37 and Multnomah County as a Republican, and only served during the regular session that failed to organize that year.
In 1906, he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate, becoming one of the first two Senators to be elected under Oregon's direct primary law, in which Senators were selected by popular vote, and then were officially elected to the position by the Oregon Legislative Assembly to comply with Article One of the U.S. Constitution. (In 1914, the 17th Amendment established direct election of Senators.) He served from March 4, 1907, to March 4, 1913.
While in the Senate he was chairman of the Committee on Fisheries (Sixtieth and Sixty-first Congresses) and a member of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads (Sixty-second Congress). He was the author of the Parcel Post Act while there and advocated for the adoption of the initiative and referendum system.
In 1908, he was a leader in the group that attempted to have Teddy Roosevelt run for a second term as the U.S. President. Bourne was not renominated to his Senate seat in 1912 by the Republican Party, but chose to run again under the "Popular Government" banner, coming in third. He also advocated for the direct primary system for political offices.
Later life and legacy
Bourne served as president of the National Republican Progressive League, and after leaving Congress resumed his former pursuits in Oregon and Massachusetts. He then worked in the newspaper business in Washington, D.C. until his death. Jonathan Bourne died in the District of Columbia on September 1, 1940, at the age of 85. He was buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Maryland. Earlier in his life he owned large mining interests in the northeast part of Oregon, where the town of Bourne bore his name.