Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994 Page: 26
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
request, the Tait family placed the anchor on the courthouse square. On
March 14, 1955, Robert Elbert Tait was given permission to take it back
(see The Colorado County Citizen, March 17, 1955). Since then, it has
been on the grounds of the Tait Townhouse in Columbus.
Prior to the war between the states a cattle "killery " was conducted here where beeves
were killed for their hides, tallow and bones. A small proportion of the meat supplied
the town people and the remainder was thrown into the Colorado river. The products
were exported through the port of Indianola when Indianola was nearly as large as
Galveston; during the time the camels were imported into Texas by the then U. S.
Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis.
Gail Borden established a meat canning plant nine miles west of Columbus
in 1871, which ran until the time of his death there in 1874.
In 1883 R. E. Stafford built a refrigerated meat packing plant here which was
probably the first refrigerated meat packery in Texas. He shipped meat in refrigerated
cars to the North and in refrigerated ships to England and Holland. His plant was valued
The earliest known reference to a slaughter house in Colorado County
occurs in a letter written by Johann Leyendecker dated May 14, 1844.
Leyendecker writes that fifty head of cattle per day were slaughtered at
the facility and boiled down for tallow (see Jean Gross and Anders
Saustrup, translators and editors, "From Coblenz to Colorado County,
1843-1844: Early Leyendecker Letters to the Old Country," Nesbitt
Memorial Library Journal, volume 1, number 6, August 1990, page
191). No further reference to this business, which apparently was
located nearer Frelsburg than Columbus, nor to any other meat packing
operation in Colorado County before the Civil War has been found.
On July 10, 1871, Gail Borden bought 161.2 acres west of
Columbus from Cynthia Wright (see Deed Book P, page 82, Office of the
County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas). Fifteen months later, on
October 3, 1872, when he sold the property to the Borden Meat
Preserving Company, it contained his personal residence, a garden, an
orchard, and a slaughterhouse arrayed along the south branch of
Harvey's Creek (see Deed Book Q, pages 597-599, Office of the County
Clerk, Colorado County, Texas). Borden died on January 11, 1874. The
company seems to have ceased operations in Colorado County shortly
thereafter. No precise date has been found. On April 3, 1889, the
company sold all its remaining land in the county, 444.25 acres, to Henry
C. Sigler for $2443.37 (see Deed Book 7, pages 127-128, Office of the
County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas).
The Columbus Texas Meat and Ice Company, a beef packing
operation with which Robert Earl Stafford was heavily involved, was
formed on October 3, 1883. Five days later, five directors, Stafford,
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994, periodical, January 1994; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151390/m1/26/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.