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Richard Bourne and Bathsheba Hallett

Richard BOURNE. Minister and Missionary to the Indians. [PC T3-11].
Born in 1610 in Barnstable, Devonshire, England; possibly the son of (William ?) BOURNE and (Ursula DAY ?).

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, 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 January 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. “

WIFE (1):
Bathsheba HALLETT. [PC T3-11].
Born about 1610 in England; daughter of Andrew HALLETT, Sr. and (Beatrix KNOTE)(Mary). She married Richard BOURNE about 1636-1637 . She died in 1670 in Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts.

WIFE (2):
Daughter of William SARGENT. She married (1) Jonathan WINSLOW. She married (2) Richard BOURNE [F3732].

CHILDREN of Richard BOURNE and Bathsheba HALLETT:
  1. Job BOURNE. Born probably in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He married 14 DEC 1664 to Ruhama HALLETT, his cousin and daughter of Andrew HALLETT (Jr. ?) of Yarmouth. He resided in Sandwich where he was fined in 1672 for not serving as constable. He died in 1676, leaving a large landed estate, which was settled 6 MAR 1677. His widow afterwards married ____ HERSEY.
  2. Elisha BOURNE. [PC T3-11]. Born in 1641 in Sandwich, Massachusetts. He married Patience SKIFF on 26 October 1675.
  3. Shearjashub BOURNE. Born in 1644 in Sandwich, Massachusetts. He married in 1673, Bathsheba SKIFFE, also of Sandwich.
  4. Ezra BOURNE. Born 12 MAY 1648 in Sandwich, Massachusetts. He was living in 1676, when he was fined 2 pounds as a delinquent soldier.