Richard Bourne, Rev.
|Birthplace:||Bradninch, Exeter, Devonshire, England|
|Death:||Died in Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts|
|Place of Burial:||Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA|
Son of William Bourne, of Grensted and Ursula Bourne
|Occupation:||Mashpee Indian missionary, teacher, politician|
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Rev. Richard Bourne
Rev. Richard Bourne
- Birth: abt 1610, Barnstaple, Devon, England
- Death: 18 Sep 1682, Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts
- Burial: Sep 1682, Dock Lane, Sandwich, Massachusetts
- Father: William Bourne (1589-1634)
- Mother: Ursula Day (~1588-?)
- Married: Bathsheba Hallett, Ruth Sargeant
- Job , 11829 (~1639-1676)
- Elisha , 6849 (1641-1706)
- Shearjashub , 311 (1643-1718)
- Ezra , 11830 (1648-<1682)
Came to Plymouth Mass about 1635. His ancestry traces back to Sir John Bourne, Secy of State to Queen Mary (1553-1558). This is known because of the "chervon party per pale" in the BOURNE Coat of Arms.
Richard, aged 24, left England, coming by way of St. Kitts & Barbados, arriving in America Jan 1, 1634/5. He stayed with his brother Henry in Scituate Mass. Richard was one of the earliest settlers of Shawmee, Mass, later incorporated in 1637 as Sandwich, Mass. (Part of Sandwich became Bourne, Mass. in 1884)
Richard Bourne had many interests but his work with the Indians is probably the most outstanding. The continued peace with the Indians was due more to his efforts than to the military forces. He learned the Indian language and began his work about 1658.
He was ordained pastor of the Indian Church at Mashpee in 1670. Richard purchased at his own expense 16 square miles as a permanent home for the Mashpee Indians. He translated the Lords Prayer into the Indian language - copies are available at the Aptucxet Trading Post near Bourne. In 1919 Indians were still living on the land given them by Richard.
Rev. Richard - buried near his home on left side of Dock Lane.
HUSBAND: [F3732]. Richard BOURNE. Minister and Missionary to the Indians. [PC T3-11]. Born in 1610 in Barnstable, Devonshire, England; possibly the son of (William ?) BOURNE [F7464] and (Ursula DAY ?) [F7465].
Richard Bourne was a householder and made a Freeman in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 16365. Therefore, it is probable that he was married by this time. He married Bathsheba HALLETT [F3733], probably in 1636 or perhaps even earlier. He was a well informed man; discreet, cautious, of sound judgment, and of good common sense. It has been said that he must have brought a large estate to New England. The division of meadows at Sandwich does not indicate, however, that he was a man of wealth. He was a good businessman, though, and while he carefully guarded the interests of the Indians, he “did not forget to lay up treasures for himself.”
On 2 JAN 1637, seven acres of land were granted to him to belong to his dwelling house. At the same court seven acres of land were granted to John Bourne, in behalf of his father, Mr. Thomas Bourne. [Is Thomas or John a brother to Richard? John apparently moved to Marshfield. There was also a Henry Bourne who resided in Plymouth, Scituate, and Barnstable. Rev. Deane called him a brother of Richard Bourne, but of this I have seen no evidence.]
Richard's name appears on the list of freemen of the Colony dated 7 MAR 1637. On 2 MAY 1637 he was on a jury to lay out the highways about Plymouth, Duxbury, and Eel River. On 5 JUN 1638 he was a grand juror, and also a member of a coroner's inquest. On 4 SEP 1638 he was an inhabitant of Sandwich, Massachusetts. He was on this day fined 18 pence for having three pigs "unringed." He was a deputy of the first general court in 1639, and excepting for the year 1643, he represented the town of Sandwich continuously until 1645. He served again in 1652, 1664-1667, and in 1670. In the division of the meadows in Sandwich in 1640 he had seven acres assigned to him.
Richard Bourne is numbered among John Eliot, Thomas Mayhew father and son, John Cotton, Daniel Gookin, and Thomas Tupper; those who consecrated their lives to the philanthropic purpose of meliorating the condition of the Indians. In fact, it has been said that, "The labors of Mr. Bourne and his associates have not been sufficiently appreciated by historians." They instructed the Indians in the arts of civilized life. The established schools and founded churches. Many of the Indians were converted to Christianity, and lived "pious and holy" lives. Many of them were taught to read and write their native language, and a few were good English scholars.
The Indians of Cape Cod spoke the Algonquian language, but name they were referred to by the other Indians of Massachusetts meant AThe White@ Indians, and so they were referred to by the Colonists.
The title to the Indian lands in Sandwich was purchased by William Bradford and his partners of the old Plymouth Company in 1637 for 16 pounds, 19 shillings, payable "in commodities". On 24 JAN 1648 they assigned their rights to Edmund Freeman. On 26 FEB 1648, he assigned his rights to George Allen, John Vincent, William Newland, Robert Botfish, Anthony Wright, and Richard Bourne; who comprised a committee of the proprietors of the town of Sandwich.
In 1650 he and others of Sandwich, where he lived, petitioned to have lands granted to them at Marshpee (or Mashpee) Pond, Cotuit River, and a meadow at Mannamuch Bay. Richard Bourne’s farm was in south Sandwich, just north of Marshpee Pond. Mr. Holoway, who had a perfect knowledge of the Indian language, says that the proper name for Marshpee/Mashpee is
Massapee--meaning ‘Great River’, being the same root as the word for the Mississippi River. The principal stream in the plantation is therefore called Marshpee, or Great River.
In 1654 he and others expressed a desire to buy some Aupland meadow lying at the end of Mashpee Pond@ and another parcel of low-lying land farther south, on the ocean at Waquoit Bay, presumably as a source of Asalt hay@ for his cattle. But in 1655, the General Court in Plymouth authorized him only to Amake use of@ the meadow at the northeastern end of Mashpee Pond, Aprovided he do ti with the consent of the Indians to whom lit belongeth.@ He thus became a subtenant on Indian-held land. This evidently put him on goood terms with the Indians and began his lifelong dealings with them.
In 1658 he was called upon to assist with the settling of the western boundary of the land sold by “Paupmunnuck and his associates” to the town of Barnstable. In this year he was also one of four referees to settle a disputed boundary between Yarmouth and Barnstable. The boundary established by them is the present boundary, but the grant of the township referred to in their report has been lost. He was trusted by both the Indians and the Colonists, to deal justly and fairly to both. He became so deeply involved with the Indians that he took up the study of their language and began devoting time to promote their welfare. About this time Richard Bourne began traveling regularly up and down the Cape urging Indians to convert to Christianity, preaching in their own Alqonquian language. He had no special theological training, but was solidly grounded in the Bible. He ranged widely, both east and west of his Sandwich home, but paid closest attention to his neighbors, the Indians of the Mashpee and Barnstable region.
In 1660 he received authority to locate land at South Sea, by Sandwich. In 1661 this became a reality, and he changed from being a tenant to landowner when John Alden and Thomas Hinckley laid out to him "a competency of meadow" at Waquoit Harbor, a parcel on the east and one on the south of Mashpee Pond, which they received from “Paupmunnuck and his associates.” Also in 1661 he, Nathaniel Bacon, and Thomas Hinckley were authorized to purchase all lands then unpurchased at Suckinesset and places adjacent to it. Richard decided not to use his purchases as an opening wedge for others, because he realized the area’s potential as a place in which to gather his growing family of Indian converts.
At that time all the southerly part of Barnstable was called "South Sea" and the Indians residing there were called the "South Sea Indians." The Indian villages at South Sea, beginning at the south-west corner of Barnstable, were: 1) Cotuit, presently Satuite, 2) Mistic, now Marston's Mills, 3) Cot-o-ches-et, now Osterville, 4) Shon-co-net, now corrupted into Skunknet, 5) Che-qua-quet or Wee-qua-quet, now Centerville and Hyannis Port, 6) Tam-a-hap-pa-see-a-kon, the name of the brook, now known as Baxter's Mill Pond and River.
Paupmunnuck was the chief of Cotachessett, and became a crucial ally of Richard Bourne=s plan for Mashpee. He must have been already an old man when he first met Richard, but he became frimly persuaded of the need to test the promise of Christian life. He allowed his son Simon Popmonet (a simplified spelling of Paupmunnuck) to be instructed by Richard in the English language and theology. Paupmunnuck was last mentioned in a document dating from February 1665, and he probably died shortly thereafter. When Richard Bourne died in 1682 Simon succeeded him as minister of the Mashpee Congregational Church.
At a General Court held at Plymouth 4 JUN 1661, Richard Bourne of Sandwich, and his heirs forever, were granted a long strip of land on the west side of Pampaspised River, where Sandwich men take alewives--in breadth from the river to the hill or ridge that runs along the length of it, from a point of rocky land by a swamp called Pametoopauksett, unto a place called by the English Muddy Hole, by the Indians Wapoompauksett. "The meadow is that which was called Mr. Leverich's;" also, the other strips that are above, along the river side, unto a point bounded with two great stones or rocks; also all the meadow lying on the easterly side of the said river unto Thomas Burgess, Sernior's farm. (Burgess's farm was in West Sandwich.) Also, "yearly liberty to take twelve thousand alewives, him and his heirs forever." Likewise a parcel of meadow at Marshpee--one-half to belong to him and the other half to be improved by him. Also, a neck of meadow between two brooks with a little upland adjoining, at Mannamuchcoy, called by the Indians Auntaanta. The long track of land spoken of lies where the Monument station of the Cape Cod Railroad was later built, and the railway passed through its whole length.
On 7 FEB 1665, "Whereas, a motion was made to this Court by Richard Bourne in the behalf of those Indians under his instruction, as to their desire of living in some orderly way of government, for the better preventing and redressing of things amiss amongst them by meet and just means, this Court doth therefore in testimony of their countenancing and encouraging to such a work, doe approve of these Indians proposed, viz: Paupmunnacke, Keecomsett, Watanamatucke and Nanquidnumacke, Kanoonus and Mocrust, to have the chief inspection and management thereof, with the help and advice of the said Richard Bourne, as the matter may require; and that one the aforesaid Indians be by the rest instated to act as a constable amongst them, it being always provided, notwithstanding, that what homage accustomed legally due to any superior Sachem be not hereby infringed." (Colony Records, Vol.4:80.] Of the Indians above spoken of, Paupmunnacke, was the Sachem of the Indians of the westerly part of Barnstable, at Scorton, and perhaps Marshpee. Keencumsett was Sachem of the Mattakesits. His house stood a little distance north of Capt. Thomas Percival's house. He was the constable. Thus at least as early as 1665, an orderly form of government was established among the Indians. They held courts of their own, tried criminals, passed judgments, etc. Mr. Bourne and Gov. Hinckley frequently attended these Indian courts and aided the Indian magistrates in difficult cases.
Nearly all the purchases of land of the Indians made in Sandwich or the vicinity during the lifetime of Richard Bourne were referred to him, a fact which shows that both the English and the Indians had confidence in him as a man of integrity. At the solicitation of Mr. Bourne, the tract of land at South Sea, containing about 10,500 acres, and known as the plantation of Marshpee, was reserved by grant from the Colony to the South Sea Indians. Reverend Hawly of Marshpee, said, "Mr. Bourne was a man of that discernment that he considered it as vain to propagate Christian knowledge among any people without a territory where they might remain in peace, from generation to generation, and not be ousted." The first deed of the Marshpee lands is dated 11 DEC 1665, and is signed by Tookenchosen and Weepquish, and confirmed unto them by Quachateset, Sachem of Manomett. In 1685, the lands conveyed by this deed were, by the Old Colony Court, "confirmed to them and secured to said South Sea Indians and their children forever, so as never to be given, sold or alienated from them without all their consents."
In 1666 a great convocation was held at Mashpee for the purpose of organizing the first Indian Church on Cape Cod. The governor of New Plymouth Colony attended, and numerous other dignitaries, including the famous missionary to the Indians of Massachusetts Bay, John Eliot. The assembled Englishmen heard the confessions of Bourne's Mashpee converts, which were said to be extremely grateful (gratifying) to the pious auditory. Cotton Mather wrote that Yet such was the strictness of the good people in this affair, that before they would countenance the advancement of these Indians unto church-fellowship, they ordered their confessions to be written, and sent unto all the churches in the colony, for their approbation. It took four long years for this arduous process to be completed, and a church was not formally gathered at Mashpee until 1670.
On 2 APR 1667 Richard Bourne, William Bassett, and James Skiffe, Sr. with the commissioned officers of Sandwich, were appointed on the Council of War. He was also on the Council in 1676. On 24 JUN 1670 he and seven others agreed to purchase all the tar made within the Colony for the next two years at 8 shillings per small barrel, and 12 shillings per large barrel, to be delivered at the waterside in each town.
In 1670 Richard Bourne became the first pastor of the Indian Church at Marshpee, which was organized by the leaders of the Plymouth Congregational Church. The apostles John Eliot and John Cotton performed his ordination. His parish extended from Provincetown to Middleboro -- one hundred miles. The Mashpee church was intended by Bourne to be the focal point for an Indian town and his ministry. There were twenty two places where he had made his conversions, thinly scattered over this wide area.
In Indians on Cape Cod had formerly numbered into many hundreds. Before the Pilgrims landed in New England, about 1616-1617, they had been descimated by plague. Afterwards, most Indian villages on Cape Cod had been reduced to groups of fifty or less. Sometimes the English moving into an area found a single Indian living alone in a wigwam, and had built their town around it, waiting for this last Indian to die. Many Indians had become shadows at the edges of white towns, earning a little money fishing to from the bounty paid by the Colonists for trapping wolves. Richard Bourne was concerned that so many of his Indian converts lived in such a marginal way, in places which he said Awant help in a settled way.@ He was therefore anxious to gather his converts into an organized town of their own where they could achieve for themselves the amenities of civilized life. Mashpee began as a Aplantation@ owned by a body of Aproprietors,@ composed of the converts to the Congregational Church. The hope was that in time, once they had learned English and demonstrated their civility as upholders of Wnglish law, they would gain the full status of Afreemen@ and sit with the Colonists in the colony=s General Court. Richard used his property purchased around Mashpee to obtain an area large enough for a town, Anear ten miles in length and five in breadth,@ as he put it, which was still free of English settlement.
In Richard Bourne's return to Major Gookin dated 1 SEP 1674 at Sandwich, he says he is the only Englishman employed in this extensive region. The results of his labors are stated in this abstract of his return: "Praying Indians that do frequently meet together on the Lord's Day to worship God." He names 22 places where meetings were held. The number of men and women that attended these meetings were 309, young men and maids 188. Whole number of praying Indians, 497. Of these 142 could read the Indian language, 72 could write, and 9 could read English.
To the west of Cape Cod, at Pokanoket, lived the great chief Massasoit. He had been succeeded by his son Metacomet, whom the English named King Phillip. Metacomet tried at first as his father before him to befriend the English without losing his grip on power. He agreed to be politically subordinate, but wished to be free to rule his followers as before. This was only grudgingly tolerated by the English, and they sought to continually narrow what self rule by the Indians meant. In 1675, the far-seeing Philip, Sachem of Mount Hope, had succeeded in uniting the Western Indians in a league, of which the avowed object was the extermination of the white inhabitants of New England.
His emissaries attempted in vain to induce the Christianized Indians to join their league. They remained faithful. Richard Bourne, aided by Thomas Tupper of Sandwich, Mr. Thornton of Yarmouth, and Mr. Treat of Eastham had a controlling influence over the numerous bands of Indians then residing in Barnstable County, in Wareham, Rochester, and Middleboro. Mr. Mayhew likewise exerted a controlling influence over the natives of Martha's Vineyard and the adjacent islands. These Indians here were not only friendly to the Englishmen, many enlisted and fought bravely against the forces of Philip. Capt. Danile of Satucket, Brewster, and Capt. Amos distinguished themselves in the war and are were honorably mentioned. In the course of the war, the number of prisoners became embarrassing, and they were sent to the Cape and Martha's Vinyard, and were safely kept by the friendly Indians. Major Walley said that the Englishmen were rarely successful when they were not aided by Indian auxiliaries. Otis says, "Richard Bourne by his unremitted labors for seventeen years made friends of a sufficient number of Indians ... to turn the scale in Plymouth Colony and give the preponderance to the whites. ...Bourne did more by the moral power which he exerted to defend the Old Colony than Bradford did at the head of the army. Laurel wreaths shade the brows of military heroes--their names are enshrined in a bright halo of glory--while the man who has done as good service for his country by moral means, sinks into comparative insignificance, and is too often forgotten." The Mashpee Indians continued to maintain this congregation for many years. Richard Bourne married (2nd) on 2 JUL 1677 Ruth SARGENT. Richard BOURNE died 18 SEP 1682 (1685-s?) at Sandwich, Massachusetts. Because of Richard Bourne’s great missionary work with the Indians, he became a living legend among them. In those days the medicine man among the Algonquin Indians was called the Pow-wow, and the Indian’s Pow-wow became very jealous of Richard’s influence with his people. An Indian folk-tale still being told today tells how Richard Bourne got into an argument with the old Pow-wow.
“Losing his temper, the Powwow chanted a bog rhyme, and mired Bourne’s feet in the mud, taunting him to prove the power of his faith by freeing himself if he could. Bourne made no effort to free himself, and for fifteen days was held fast in the mud, trapped by the Pow-wow’s spell. But Bourne was kept alive by a white dove, which placed strange red berries in his mouth from time to time. At last the Pow-wow yielded and Bourne was free. One of the red berries brought to Bourne by the white dove had meanwhile fallen into the bog and had grown and multiplied. “
Immigration: 1634, Plymouth, Massachusetts
"The Orginal List of Persons of Quality" (1962 addition) shows that Richard Borne(sis) age 24, and Thomas Borne age 22, appears upon a list of persons, dated January 1634, to be transported to St Christophers and Barbadoes.
Passengers embarking from the Port of London on the Bonaventure bound to Barbados and St. Christophers Islands
Richard Bourne had many interests but his work with the Indians is probably the most outstanding. The continued peace with the Indians was due more to his efforts than to the military forces. He learned the Indian language and began his work about 1658. He was ordained pastor of the Indian Church at Mashpee in 1670. Richard purchased at his own expense 16 square miles as a permanent home for the Mashpee Indians. He translated the Lords Prayer into the Indian language - copies are available at the Aptucxet Trading Post near Bourne. In 1919 Indians were still living on the land given them by Richard.Richard Bourne ca 1610 England to 1682 Sandwich and Mashpee, Mass.
Richard Bourne was born circa 1610 in England (exactly where is unknown although some say Devonshire). He is well-known in the history of Massachusetts because he was a missionary for many years (formally ordained in 1670) to the Native Americans and was instrumental in securing the Mashpee reservation land.
I have mixed emotions about the man as I’m not in favor of forcing your religious beliefs on others, but he did seem to genuinely care about the natives and treated them with more respect and open-mindedness than most white men of his generation. He didn’t take their native language from them, rather he mastered it himself and taught them to read and write in their native tongue, as well as in English. He is often referred to by historians as a man of integrity and his goal was for the Natives to manage their own affairs. He was interested in improving their sense of self-respect and thought owning their own land would help with that, so he worked for 20 years to obtain land at Mashpee for a Reservation. File:Old Indian Meetinghouse.jpg Ca 1905 postcard of the Old Indian Meeting House at Mashpee
Historian Elizabeth Reynard described Richard Bourne as "a lawyer trained at the Inn of Court, thickset with iron grey hair...the White Sachem or Little Father, energetic, gentle, with square shoulders thick from wrestling with Lucifer..."
I believe Richard is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side, although I'm not 100 percent sure of generation no. 7 (see below). I’ve found a lot of conflicting and confusing information on William Nye, especially since there are three in a row of the same name. If anyone else descends from William and Ruth, it would be great to hear from you!
1 Richard Bourne 1610 - 1682 +Bathsheba 2 Elisha Bourne 1641 - 1706 +Patience Skiffe 1652 - 1715 3 Hannah Bourne 1689 - 1744/45 +Seth Pope 1689 - 1744 4 John Pope 1716 - 1762 +Mercy Swift 1719 - 1815 5 Abigail Pope 1747 - 1829 +William Nye 1733 - 1806 6 William Nye 1765 - 1841 +Ruth Snow 1768 - 1854 7 William Nye 1794 - 1831 +Nancy Snow 1797 - 1880 8 Aurilla West Nye 1829 - 1905 +Josiah Benson 1826 - 1910 9 Hattie Maria Benson 1861 - 1914 +Charles Francis Washburn 1857 - 1941 10 Carrie Clyfton Washburn 1896 - 1974 +George Brewster Smith 1895 - 1913 11 Arthur Elmer Washburn Davis 1913 – +Mildred Louise Booth 1917 - 1999 12 my parents 13 me
Richard was one of the 13 men who joined Edmund Freeman to settle Sandwich between 1637-1640. Some were from Saugus and others from Plymouth.
Around 1636, Richard married a woman named Bathsheba, possibly the daughter of Andrew Hallett, although that hasn’t been proven. They had four sons, the first probably born at Plymouth and the rest probably born Sandwich: 1. Job, b. 1639, died in 1677, m. Ruhama Hallett, predeceased his father 2. Elisha, b. 1641, m. Patience Skiffe, inherited the land at Herring River and Manomet, died Sandwich 1706 3. Shearjashub, b. 1644, m. Bathshua Skiffe, inherited the lands in Mashpee and in Falmouth and was the Indian Commissioner and judge in Barnstable 4. Ezra, b. 1648, who died after 9 Mar 1672, when he witnessed a deed but before his father’s death, without issue
In addition to his work as an ordained pastor to the Indians, Richard was also involved in town affairs in Plymouth and Sandwich, serving as Selectman and on various committees.
He was a householder in Plymouth in 1636 and his name is on list of freeman 7 March 1636/7. On 2 May 1637 he was surveyor of highways to lay out roads around Plymouth, Duxbury and Eel River. On 5 June 1638 he was a grand juror and member of a coroner's inquest.
When Sandwich was fully accepted as a town in 1639, Richard Bourne was one of two men appointed Deputies to the Court, a position he held for 14 years. In 1640 Richard was on the committee to reallocate meadowland, a controversy in town as some citizens felt the original settlers were given more than their fair share. Richard was allowed to cut hay in Manomet with the strict understanding that it remained Indian land. In 1648 he was part of a group set up to satisfy the demands of Committees for various expenses in founding the town.
In June 1676 he was on a special committee appointed to take an account of and pay the town's debts regarding the Colony's involvement in the Indian War. He served in other capacities as well, to settle border disputes and to purchase land and items such as tar on behalf of the town.
Depiction of Colonial surveyors
In 1655 Sarah Kerby was at court for uttering “suspicious speeches” against Mr. Bourne. She was to be whipped if she did it again. In 1654, Mr. Bourne submitted his accounts for shopping in Boston for supplies for the Sandwich militia. In 1658, he and James Skiffe were appointed to lay out land in the Common area for townspeople to use for planting. He was named to a committee in 1658 to survey land holdings in Sandwich. In 1667 he was named to the Council of War.
At a time when a man didn’t have to do much to draw the attention of the Court, Richard’s only transgression was on 4 Sep tember 1638 when he was fined 8 pence in Sandwich for having 3 unringed pigs.
His early progress in mission work is shown in the annual budget of Commissioners of the United Colonies:
1657 - Richard Bourne...encouraged to the work 1658 - For pains in teaching the Indians 15 pounds 1659 - A teacher of the Indians 20 pounds 1660 - For his pains in keeping a constant weekly lecture amongst the Indians 20 pounds 1663 - To Mr. Bourne at Sandwich his salary 25 pounds 1664 - John Eliot stated "my beloved brother Mr. Bourne is a faithful and prudent laborer and a good man." (Eliot transcribed the Bible into Algonquin) 1667 - To Mr. Bourne at Sandwich his salary 30 pounds 1672 - To Mr. Bourne 30 pounds. To 3 Indians under Mr. Bourne, 15 pounds.
In 1649 Richard went among Natives suffering from an epidemic (to which they were sadly prone) and showed himself immune. This gave him some of the magical status that was accorded the medicine men.
Richard lived on what is now the end of Dock Lane off Main Street, in the Ox Pasture Neck/Jarvesville area of Sandwich where the glass factory would eventually be built. His next door neighbor was Thomas Tupper, whom I also descend from.
1884 map showing Jarvesville and the factory--imagine how rural is was in the17th century?
Richard held lands in the Indian-occupied Mashpee area. These lands, some purchased with his own money, were an essential part of the formation of the Indian reservation. In 1660 liberty was granted to Richard Bourne to find land towards the South Sea (Vineyard Sound). He was able to diplomatically block grants and shortly after obtained grants exclusively for himself, evidence of an extraordinary prestige at Plymouth Court plus high persuasive powers among his fellow citizens.
Evidence of Richard's early vision of an Indian reservation emerges in his skilled work to readjust the fuzzy Barnstable boundary agreed to by Chief Paupmunnock in 1648. In 1658 a new agreement was signed in which the western boundary between Barnstable and the Indians was shifted. It was a rare, almost unique, event for the Indians to regain land once granted away, and Richard was present at the signing.
Beginning in 1655 Bourne was granted by either Plymouth Colony or by the Mashpee Indians land in several areas: On Mashpee River just off Mashpee Pond, ten acres originally just to use then half to own; a neck of marsh and upland in Waquoit Bay, plus adjacent upland; a homestead and grazing center on present John Ewer Road where he lived when not in his home in Sandwich village; a five acre neck in Peter's Pond; a 30 acre house lot on the east short of Mashpee Pond. Also right to take 12,000 alewives per year, to cut 10-12 loads of marsh hay and rights to cut wood and to graze cattle on lands adjoining his own.
Little has been actually recorded about Richard's work among the Cape Indians in the 1650s and early 1660s, but it is recognized that it produced results. He must have been an extremely effective teacher in conveying the basics of reading and writing both in the Indians' own language and in English. One wonders how he could have spent so much time with his charges while running his own farm, even with sons to help, and serving in the town and Colony government. His accomplishments are indicated in three formal documents from 1665 and 1666. The first document showed a plan for a new way of government administered by the Indians themselves, to operate with Richard's help and advice. The second document talks of land to remain with the South Sea Indians forever, excepting one parcel of meadow and land already sold unto Richard Bourne at a place called Manamuchcoy and Aunto-Anto. This was the real authority to develop the reservation at Mashpee. A literate Indian named Simon Paupmunnock eventually became Richard's successor as preacher. The third document was a deed which formally turned over the Mashpee area lands to the five Indian leaders.
In July 1666 Bourne felt confident enough of the results of teaching the Indians to invite a group of ministers, with Governor Thomas Prence and several Assistants, to assemble in Mashpee. These important visitors gathered at Briant's Neck, Santuit Pond, for the double service of inaugurating the Indian Church and ordaining Richard Bourne as its pastor.
In 1674 there were 497 Indians from Plymouth to the Lower Cape that attended services; 142 could read; 72 could write and 9 could read English. Bourne lamented the irreligion of many saying they "are very loose in their course to my heart-breaking sorrow."
At his solicitation, 10,500 acres, known as the plantation of Marshpee (later Mashpee), was reserved by grant from the colony to the South Sea Indians. The formation of the Mashpee reservation south of Sandwich and the establishment of a successful church there were due mainly to the labor and devotion of the uniquely talented Richard Bourne.
After Richard’s death in 1682, a general law on Indian village organization in Plymouth Colony was passed "for their better regulating and that they may be brought to live orderly soberly and diligently." It laid out a series of laws and regulations for the Indians. In 1684, a year before his death, a new meeting-house was built to replace the first Mashpee church, and it has been maintained to this day as his monument.
King Philip, sachem of Mount Hope, was unable to induce the Christianized Indians to join his war against the English. They remained faithful, much to Richard Bourne's efforts. If they had turned into rebels, Plymouth Colony would have likely become extinct. In other areas, whites didn't trust the Indians and wanted them taken away. In Natick they were transported to Deer Island in Boston Harbor. Some of the Indians in Plymouth Colony, particularly at Pembroke, were conveyed to Clarke's Island, Plymouth.
The respect the natives had for Richard Bourne lasted after his death, when one of his descendants was very ill and nothing the white doctors did was helping. Some Natives came and used their traditional medicines and cured the child.
According to Jeremiah Diggs, Bathsheba fell ill of a fever which neither the minister's "dosage and pills" or the Indian herbs could cure. She died around 1676.
On 2 July 1677, Richard married the much younger Ruth (Sargent) Winslow at Sandwich, the widow of Jonathan Winslow. Some of Richard’s love letters to Ruth survive, but I have not seen them myself.
In 1676, shortly after Bathsheba's death, Richard wrote to the widow: "I have had divers motions since I received yours, but none suits me but yourself, if God soe incline your mynde to marry me ... I doe not find in myselfe any flexableness to any other but an utter loatheness."
Elder John Chipman tried to dissuade him from marrying Ruth. The widow, he said, was a worldly creature, too worldly for Richard. Interestingly, after Richard died and Elder Chipman had lost his wife, he in turn married the wordly Ruth!
Richard died at Sandwich after 18 August 1681, when he is mentioned in the town records, and by October 1682, when letters of administration on his estate were granted to his sons Shearjashub and Elisha. His burial location is not known. Richard's moveables were valued at about £134; his land at £300; his debts from English people at £502 and his debts from Indians at £173.
"The Finall Settlement of ye Estate both real and Personall of Mr. Richard Bourne, late of Sandwich, deceased, by agreement of ye parties concerned therein & approved by the Court held at Plymouth 31 Oct. 1682. Whereas ye sd Richard Bourne died intestate & also his eldest son Job died in ye life time of his father, leaving four sons and one daughter who arc yett living and also Shearjashub and Elysha sons of ye sd Richard are yett living. It is mutually agreed between John Miller, agent for ye children of sd Job & his Relict Widdow Ruhamah Bourne of ye one part; and ye sd Sherjashub & Elisha of ye other part as followeth, viz: That the sd children of ye sd Job shall have all ye housing and lands of ye sd Richard Bourne which he died seized of, namely ye housing and lands he lived on, aprised at £300, and twenty acres of land lying at a place called ye Great Hollow in Sandwich afsd, to them and their heirs, to be divided in such manner as ye Court see cause. After ye decease of Ruth Bourne, Relict Widdow of ye sd Richard Bourne shall belong & appurtain to ye sd Shearjashub and Elisha Bourne who are the administrators of ye sd Estate, and for the confirmation hereof ye Court orders ye recording of this Instrument" (Plymouth Colony Probate, vol. 4, pt. 2, p. 1). Letters of Administration were "graunted by the Court unto Shearjashuub Bourn and Elisha Bourne" same date (Plymouth Colony Records, vol. 6, p. 97).
Ruth died in 1713, age 71.
Sources Not Listed Above: RA Lovell, Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, 1984 Elizabeth Reynard, The Narrow Land, 1968 Jeremiah Diggs, Cape Cod Pilot, American Guide Series, 1937 Amos Otis, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, 1888 Simeon Deyo, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts,1890 Edward Rowe Snow, A Pilgrim Returns to Cape Cod, 1946 Lydia B. (Phinney) Brownson & Maclean W. McLean, The Rev. Richard Bourne of Sandwich, Mass. NEHGR, vols. 118-9, 1964-65
Rev. Richard Bourne's Timeline
January 13, 1609
Bradninch, Exeter, Devonshire, England
January 13, 1610
Bobbingworth, Essex, England
January 13, 1611
Bobbingworth, Bobbingworth, Essex, England
January 13, 1611
Bobbingworth, Bobbingworth, Essex, England
Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, USA
Sandwich, Barnstable, Massechusetts
Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, USA
April 21, 1643
Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts