Some fai hordei Letters
ROBERTA C. HENDRIX
S OME of the Gail Borden material in the Rosenberg Library
is made up of a collection of papers and letters given to
the First Baptist Church of Galveston by Gail Borden III
in 1940. These papers had belonged to Borden's father and
grandfather, John Gail Borden and Gail Borden.
Several years ago there appeared a biography, Gail Borden,
Pioneer, written by Clarence Wharton of Houston. In his bib-
liography, the author makes the statement that while Gail Bor-
den was a voluminous letter writer, none of the letters written
to him have been preserved. It is a matter of much regret that
Wharton did not have available the material now in the Rosen-
berg Library, for in this one collection there are ninety-seven
letters written to Gail Borden.
These letters were written over a period of forty-four years,
from 1836 to 188o, and a great many are of a business nature.
There are letters concerning the payment of taxes, the sale of
land and machinery, several letters urging the immediate pay-
ment of certain notes because "money is tight and everything is
stagnated in Galveston." There are field notes of various tract
surveys and a letter from Houston written by "A. Brigaham,
acting Secretary of the Treasury, to Borden, First Collector, Port
of Galveston, 23 August, 1837." This letter pertains to the re-
lease of the British schooner, the Eliza Russell.
In the collection are numerous personal letters, some written
by Gail Borden and his three brothers, Thomas, John, and
Paschal. There is also a letter written by Captain A. Swift of Gon-
zales asking permission to marry Borden's daughter, Philadel-
phia, and a delightful letter written by Philadelphia to her
father soon after her marriage to Captain Swift.
In addition to the business letters already mentioned, there
are many pertaining to the sale of one of the products which
made Borden's name famous, his "meat biscuit" as he called it.
Only a very few of these letters mention the condensed milk
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/. Accessed December 21, 2013.