Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Keith Guthrie

BORDEN, SIDNEY GAIL (1846–1908). Sidney Gail Borden, businessman and local official, son of Mary Susan (Hatch) and John Pettit Borden, was born on March 15, 1846, in Richmond, Texas, moved to San Patricio County as a youth with his family, and settled in the Ingleside area. His mother was the daughter of George Hatch. John P. Borden, a brother of Gail Borden, Jr., registered the brand J6 on August 26, 1856, in San Patricio County. Sidney joined the Confederate forces at nineteen and served on the Rio Grande with Capt. A. C. Jones in local skirmishes.

Sidney Gail Borden's Property in San Felipe
Sidney Gail Borden's Property in San Felipe. Courtesy of the Borden Family Collection at Baylor University. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Sharpsburg and Borden's Ferry Historical Marker
Sharpsburg and Borden's Ferry Historical Marker. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

After the war Borden returned to San Patricio County and engaged in a number of ranching and business enterprises. Borden married Mary G. Sullivan on December 28, 1876. The Bordens had six children. He founded the riverport of Sharpsburg in the early 1870s. With D. C. Rachal he purchased a schooner, the Nueces Valley, to transport merchandise to his store, S. G. Borden Mercantile, at Sharpsburg. Wool, hides, cotton, and wine were shipped out of the port. Borden developed vineyards near Hart's Lake and shipped a white wine, Sharpsburg's Best, and a red wine, Rachal's Choice, throughout South Texas. Borden and Rachal built the first cotton gin in the area in the early 1880s. In addition to his wine, gin, ranch, and shipping businesses Borden operated a Nueces River ferry that was the primary link for Nueces County travelers heading north. He also operated a meat packery on the river near Sharpsburg. In partnership with two other men, he developed town and farm lots in Sharpsburg, which became the largest community in the county.

Grave of Sidney Gail Borden
Grave of Sidney Gail Borden. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Borden was elected justice of the peace in 1871 and named county judge in 1881. He served through 1888 and again for a short time in 1897–98. He was appointed county surveyor in 1895 and was postmaster at Sharpsburg from 1883 until the post office was moved to Angelita in 1908. He built the first telephone line in the county, from Sharpsburg to Corpus Christi, a distance of twenty miles; this line served the entire area, especially to summon medical aid. He died at his home in Sharpsburg on January 31, 1908, and is buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus Christi. 


Corpus Christi Caller-Times, January 18, 1959. Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986). Rachel Bluntzer Hébert, The Forgotten Colony: San Patricio de Hibernia (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1981). San Patricio County News, September 29, 1938.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Keith Guthrie, "BORDEN, SIDNEY GAIL," accessed August 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on December 20, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox