Bourne is a town in Barnstable County, on Cape Cod. Initially settled in 1640, it was a part of Sandwich until 1884 when it ceded and incorporated, taking the villages of Sagamore, Buzzards Bay, Cataumet, Pocasset, and Monument Beach with it. Prior to being settled, in 1627, the Pilgrims had set up a trading post called Aptuxet Trading Post (meaning “little trap by the river”) in what would eventually become the village to facilitate trade between Plymouth Colony, New Amsterdam, and the local Wampanoag Indians.
While existing as a part of Sandwich, Bourne was known as Monument Village. When it was incorporated, it was renamed in honor of Jonathan Bourne (1811 – 1899), one of the wealthiest and most successful whaling-industry capitalists at the time, as well as a politician. As a state legislator, Mr. Bourne had also been instrumental in ensuring that the secession from Sandwich was approved. Jonathan Bourne had been born in Monument Village, though he lived much of his life in New Bedford. During his lifetime, Mr. Bourne also served as a legislator for the state of Massachusetts, as well as a member of the Governor’s Council.
Bourne’s family name is derived from the Old English word “burne” meaning stream, likely given to an ancestor who lived near a stream somewhere in Anglo-Saxon England.