The Bordens of Fort Bend County, Texas 

 

Gail Borden, Sr., came to Texas in 1828 and settled in Fort Bend County, his league of land being in the famous bend, from which the county takes its name. He and his sons, John P., Thomas, Gail, Jr., and Paschal, took an active part in all of the stirring scenes of their time, not only as pioneers to subdue the wilderness by manual labor until it should blossom as the rose, but helped to pave the way also to that higher civilization which we now enjoy, as soldiers to help fight the battles against all enemies, as statesmen to raise their voices in wise council while the ship of state was being guided to a safe and secure haven. During the Texas revolution of 1836, John P. Borden and his brother, Paschal, belonged to the company of Captain Mosley Baer, and was in the heroic fight made by Baker's men at San Felipe, by which they prevented the Mexican army from crossing there, and forced them to abandon the attempt and make the passage at Fort Bend. Later on the two brothers were in the decisive battle at San Jacinto, John P. as first lieutenant of Captain Baker's company. After the freedom of Texas from Mexican rule was accomplished, John P. Borden took an active part in the affairs of the Republic, and during the administration of President Lamar was appointed land commissioner by him. The President had vetoed a bill establishing a land office, clearly setting forth his objections, but it was made a law over his veto. Lamar then, to show his desire to have the law wisely and faithfully executed, appointed John P. Borden the first commissioner, and conditions afterwards proved that a more judicious selection could not have been made.

Thomas and Gail Borden were the founders of the Texas Telegraph, the first permanent newspaper published, in Texas, first making its appearance at San Felipe in 1835, then the press and type were removed to Harrisburg in 1836, on the approach of the Mexican army, and they were there working off a form of the paper when Santa Anna's army appeared at that place and they were forced to, abandon the work and flee for their lives. The type and press were thrown into the bayou and the printing office destroyed. After the victory at San Jacinto, the publication of the Telegraph was renewed at Columbia, but was with the government transferred to the town of Houston, and soon afterwards the paper was sold to Messrs. Moore and Cruger.

Thomas Borden was a lieutenant in Captain Bird's company in 1835, and commanded the company in the absence of Captain Bird when San Antonio was stormed by the Texans under Colonel Ben Milam and Colonel Francis W. Johnson. He was also the inventor of the steam gauge. He was older than his brother, Gail, and besides being a partner in the publication of the Telegraph, was also in charge the survey and sale of lots in Galveston, and died in that city in 1877.

John P. Borden was in the Somerville campaign of 1842 and survived all of rthe dangers and hardships of frontier life until 1891, dying in that year at an advanced age.

Gail Borden filled a number of civil offices and was a member of the Convention at San Felipe in 1833. He was also the agent for the Galveston City Company, and the first collector of the port of Galveston. After annexation he distinguished himself as an inventor, first securing a valuable patent for preserving meat in a form which he called "meat biscuit." He also invented and secured a patent for a process of condensing milk, and "Borden's Condensed, Milk" is a staple article of commerce. He made the first condensed milk where the town of Glidden is now, in Colorado County, but then called Borden. As late as 1887 his sign was still to be seen, which read: "Borden's Condensed Milk Factory." At that time a post-office and Bordens place was about all there was there. Gail Borden, Sr., died at this place, but in what year the writer does not know. Gail, Jr., died there in January 1874. The County of Borden, at the foot of the plains, was named for him, as was also the county seat, which is Gail. Paschal Borders married a Miss Stafford, and died at Stafford's Point, on Oyster Creek, in Fort Bend County.

The Bordens were valuable accessions to the colony of Austin, and came from Ohio there. They faithfully did their part in the days that "tried men's souls," and when weighed in the balance of duty and integrity, were not found wanting.

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