Senator Jonathan Bourne

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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The New York Times, 3 September 1940

JONATHAN BOURNE, FORMER SENATOR
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Legislator for Oregon From 1907 to 1913 Dies in His Washington, D. C., Home
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PARCEL POST LAW AUTHOR
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Fathered 'Oregon System' for the Election of Senators by a Popular Vote
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Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 2---Jonathan Bourne Jr., a former Republican Senator from Oregon, died here today from complications attributed to a fall in his home six weeks ago. He was 85 years of age.

Senator Bourne was born In New Bedford, Mass., Feb. 23, 1855, the son of the owner of a fleet of whaling ships. He left college to go to sea in one of his father's ships, was wrecked on the island of Formosa and taken by the ship that rescued him to Portland, Ore.

There he studied law, became interested in mining and entered politics and was elected to the Oregon State Legislature. He was the father of the "Oregon system," which resulted in the election of Senators by popular vote rather than by the State Legislature.

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1906, took office 1907 and remained in office until 1913. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Postoffices and Post Roads he became the author of the parcel post law.

After leaving the Senate Mr. Bourne remained in Washington where he organized and became chairman of the National Progressive Republican League and the Republican Publicity Association. He opposed the League of Nations and in later years was a critic of policies which he held represented an undue extension of the power of the Federal Government.

He leaves, a widow, Mrs. Frances Turner Bourne.

Interested In Mining

Mr. Bourne, who made a fortune in mining, farming and commercial enterprises in both the West and the East, was the first United States Senator to be chosen by a popular vote. Elected to the Senate as a Republican, he twice quit his party, of which he had long been a leader, first to support William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and, in 1912, to become a Progressive follower of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt.

Despite his liberal excursions from the Republican fold, Mr. Bourne in later years was a loyal, conservative Republican who headed in the early twenties the strongly anti-Woodrow Wilson Republican Publicity Association. Mr. Bourne, at one time an advocate of many causes regarded by conservatives as dangerously radical, later found himself in opposition to what he considered the dangerous radicalism of organized labor.

Mr. Bourne was a member of the family for which Bourne, Mass., was named, and the son of Jonathan Bourne and Mrs. Emily S. Howland Bourne.

Practiced Law a Year

Business held his attention more than the law, which he practiced for only a year. He became president of a number of Oregon corporations and also of the Bourne Cotton Mills of Fall River, Mass.

Bourne early became an ardent Oregon Republican. He served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives in 1885-86-92, was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1888 and 1892 and a member of the Republican National Committee from 1888 to 1892.

He was the chief advocate in 1909 of extending the Oregon primary law to permit the people of the State to express their preference for party candidates for President and Vice President. This extension was voted by the people. “Thus, has been started" he wrote later, “a movement that in my opinion will extend throughout the United States, until eventually we shall have direct selection of party candidates for the highest Federal office."

In 1907 Theodore Roosevelt then President, charged that a "rich men's conspiracy" to defeat a Roosevelt man for the 1908 Republican nomination and prevent further enforcement of Roosevelt policies had been revealed at a dinner at which Mr. Bourne was host in Washington. Less than a month later, Mr. Bourne, already known as a stanch Roosevelt supporter, announced his support of Colonel Roosevelt for a third term.

As president of the Republican Publicity Association he denounced President Wilson and the Democratic party on many foreign and domestic issues. He also attacked Samuel Gompers, then American Federation of Labor president, his "clique”￾ and the idea of a closed shop.

Previously twice wed, his first wife having died and his second having divorced him, he took as his third wife, in 1925, when he was 70 years old Miss Frances B. Turner, then 29, who had nursed him in a recent illness.

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Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Dec 29, 2000
6,106
174
223
Congressional Directory, 62d Congress, 3d Session, December 1912

JONATHAN BOURNE, JR., Republican, of Portland, was born in New Bedford,
Mass., February 23, 1855; attended the private schools of that city;
entered Harvard College in 1873 and remained until the end of his junior
year. After traveling around the world he settled in Portland, Oreg.,
May 16, 1878, where he read law and was admitted to the Oregon bar in
1881. Becoming largely interested. in the mining interests of the
Northwest, he practiced law for only about a year, thereafter devoting
his attention to his mining and other business interests. He is
president of a number of Oregon corporations and of the Bourne Cotton
Mills at Fall River, Mass. He was a Republican member of the Oregon
Legislature during the sessions of 1885, 1886, and 1897; was a delegate
to the Republican national conventions in 1888 and 1892, and was
Oregon's member of the Republican national committee from 1888 to 1892;
was elected to the United States Senate, to succeed Hon. Fred. W.
Mulkey, for the term beginning March 4, 1907. His term of service will
expire March 3, 1913.