Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 38
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
The G. H. & S. A. pieced together the first new depot site, some seven miles
west of Columbus, in two agreements, one reached with Gail Borden, Jr., on March 7, 1873,
the other with William Stapleton two days later. The depot and its surrounding planned town
was to be named Borden, and was to be laid out on land on Harvey's Creek which until then
had been owned by Borden and Stapleton. Half of all profits from the sale of lots was to go
to the railroad; the other half to either Borden or Stapleton. Stapleton already lived in the
area, as did both Gail Borden and his brother, John Pettit Borden. The Bordens also operated
a hotel, and an industry, the Borden Meat Preserving Company, there. Since 1849, when he
invented the meat biscuit, a consumable though not delectable food product that resisted
decay, Gail Borden had concerned himself with preserving food. His patent on condensed
milk had made him a considerable fortune. Between May and October 1871, Borden ac-
quired five tracts of land west of Columbus. By March 1872, he had begun construction of
the meat packing plant, and the place had become known as Bordenville. On October 3,
1872, he conveyed all of his land in the area to his new company, the Borden Meat Preserv-
ing Company. By March 1873, in addition to the hotel, two schools (one for whites and one
for blacks) had been constructed in the area, and Borden's homesite included a garden and
an orchard. The company's main building, in which up to 25 head of cattle per day could be
processed, was a two-story structure of wood and stone. It produced roasted beef and, from
the less desirable cuts, a less desirable extract of beef. The considerable water it used was
piped to the building from a reservoir on the creek. The company's nearby slaughterhouse
was adjoined by 150 acres under fence, where the unfortunate cattle were allowed to spend
their last days. The new town of Borden, ambitious in its plat, grew very slowly if at all. It
received its post office, with John Borden as postmaster, on January 19, 1874. Eight days
earlier, its most famous resident and the driving force behind all its industry, Gail Borden, had
died. The beef packing plant would operate, under the guidance of Borden's son, for only a
few more years. By the summer of 1878 it was out of business, at least in part because of its
inability to pay the railroad's shipping charges.50
Weatherford, through La Grange, Bastrop, and Austin. Two Colorado County men, Josiah Shaw and
John Richard Brooks, were listed among the original commissioners of the railroad. Evidently, how-
ever, the C. A. & P. C. built no track, and, in keeping with the provisions of their charter, went out of
existence in two years (see Gammel, ed., The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, vol. 7, pp. 886-891).
50 Colorado County Deed Records, Book O, pp. 606, 608, Book Q, pp. 524, 597-599; Colorado
County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book I, pp. 595, 596, 605; Colorado Citizen, March 14, 1872,
April 2, 1874, June 25, 1874, July 22, 1875, June 6, 1878; Petition to Prohibit the Sale of Alcoholic
Beverages at Borden, March 22, 1873, Memorials and Petitions, Archives Division, Texas State Li-
brary, Austin; Record ofAppointment ofPostmasters 1832-September 30, 1971, National Archives
Microfilm Publication M841, Roll 122; Joe B. Frantz, Gail Borden Dairyman to a Nation (Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1951), p. 275, which has been used as the source of the date ofBorden's
death. Borden may have moved to the area because his son-in-law, Jahu W. Johnson, had moved to
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/38/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.