Borden, Sidney Gail (1846–1908)

By: Keith Guthrie

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: December 14, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

Keith Guthrie, “Borden, Sidney Gail,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

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November 1, 1994
December 14, 2017