Texas Ingenuity History

 

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I think you've got a hit on your hands -- judging by the way the guys were reading it yesterday! They kept going--"I didn't know this"... or, "oh, yeah, I remember this"...What FUN! I gave out 7 of your Texas books at the family Christmas get-together yesterday--and now I need to buy another 3. P.S. (Athens)

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Best Texas Hotels

The Adolphus Hotel (Dallas; tel. 800/221-9083 or 214/742-8200)

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas; tel. 800/422-3408 or 214/599-2100)

Hotel Zaza (Dallas; tel. 800/597-8399 or 214/468-8399)

Stockyards Hotel (Fort Worth; tel. 800/423-8471 or 817/625-6427)

Four Seasons Hotel Houston (Houston; tel. 800/332-3442 or 713/650-1300)

Hotel Derek (Houston; tel. 866/292-4100 or 713/961-3000)

Lancaster Hotel (Houston; tel. 800/231-0336 or 713/228-9500)

Omni Corpus Christi Hotel (Corpus Christi; tel. 800/843-6664 or 361/887-1600)

Isla Grand Beach Resort (South Padre Island; tel. 800/292-7704 or 956/761-6511)

Omni La Mansión del Río (San Antonio; tel. 800/830-1400 or 210/518-1000)

The Watermark Hotel & Spa (San Antonio; tel. 866/605-1212 or 210/396-5800)

The Driskill (Austin; tel. 800/252-9367 or 512/474-5911)

Four Seasons Austin (Austin; tel. 800/332-3442 or 512/478-4500)

Lake Austin Spa Resort (Austin; 1705 S. Quinlan Park Rd.; tel. 800/847-5637)

Cibolo Creek Ranch (Shafter; tel. 432/229-3737)

Gage Hotel (Marathon; tel. 432/386-4205)

Historic - The Excelsior House (Jefferson; 903/665-2513 or 800/490-7270)


 

 

 

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Gail Borden Milks Success

The tombstone above Gail Borden, Jr.’s grave reads, “I tried and failed, I tried again and again and succeeded.” Borden indeed had a knack for failure.

Born in New York State in 1801, his family moved to Kentucky in 1814 and on to Indiana a few years later. At the age of 21, his brother Tom joined the hordes of adventurers who had “Gone to Texas” to seek their fortunes. The untamed Texas frontier didn’t appeal to Gail, and he stayed behind and took a teaching job in Mississippi.

A few years into his teaching career, Gail met a sixteen-year-old pupil named Penelope Mercer who stole his heart. They married in 1828. Like his adventurous brother Tom, the Mercer family was enamored with the prospects of a new life in Texas. Borden’s new bride had more influence on him than his brother Tom. She soon convinced her young groom to pull up stakes and join her family in a move to the new frontier. Since she was pregnant, Gail and Penelope traveled to Texas by boat, while the rest of the Mercer family took the land route. The Bordens landed on Galveston Island on Christmas Eve 1829. (At that time there was no City of Galveston, only a harbor and a few buildings.) They traveled the bumpy dirt road to San Felipe by horse-drawn wagon, and set up house near Gail’s father (who also now lived in Texas). Penelope’s family arrived a few weeks later by wagon train.

The immigrant Americans arriving in Texas, like the Bordens and Mercers had been promised that the territorial government would operate under democratic laws of Mexico. However, when Santa Anna assumed the presidency of Mexico, everything changed. The Mexican promises of democratic rule were abandoned. To keep the Texans (and the rest of world) aware of what was happening, Borden helped launch a newspaper called the Telegraph and Texas Register. As the Americans feared, without the legal protection of the old Mexican constitution, the immigrants found themselves subjected to arbitrary, harsh and unfair rules created and enforced by the officials of Santa Anna’s government.

True to the American spirit, a group of Texans met together in 1833 to insist that Mexico restore their legal protections. Gail Borden represented his town as one of the fifty-five delegates to the convention. In fact, Borden printed the original Texas Declaration of Independence (for which he was never paid). During the Texas revolution, Borden kept printing daily updates about the fighting until the Mexican Army overran his business, took his printing press, and threw it into a river.

After the end of the war, in 1837, President Houston appointed Gail Borden as Customs Collector on Galveston Island. … continues …

 

Gail Borden

A photograph of Gail Borden, Jr. (1801-1874)

Texas Tidbit: Gail Borden drew the first-ever topical map of Texas in 1835.

The story continues in the book Texas Ingenuity... For complete information on this and other Texas stories…