Borden, Gail, 1801-1874

Alternative names
Birth 1801-11-09
Death 1874-01-11

Biographical notes:

Gail Borden, Jr. (1801-1874) was a surveyor, inventor, newspaperman, businessman and agriculturalist. He was born in Norwich, New York, and moved to Texas in 1829. Borden was a surveyor for Austin's Colony and a founder of the "Telegraph and Texas Register", but is most famous as an inventor; he patented the first process for condensing milk. The Borden Milk Company bears his name.

From the description of Borden, J. Gail, papers, 1830-1937. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 71016435

Inventor of condensed milk; founder of the Borden Company.

From the description of Gail Borden papers, 1856-1984. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 64744048

A public figure who made numerous contributions to the development of the Republic of Texas, Gail Borden, Jr. eventually became nationally prominent as an inventor and entrepreneur.

Born in New York in 1801, Borden moved to Kentucky and then to Indiana with his family before relocating on his own to Mississippi, where he worked as a teacher and surveyor. In 1829, Borden joined his father and younger brothers in Texas, settling in Stephen F. Austin’s colony in what would become Fort Bend County. He relocated his family to San Felipe de Austin and worked as a surveyor for Austin, soon becoming involved in public life and participating in the Convention of 1833, held at San Felipe. In 1835, with his brother Thomas and Joseph Baker, Borden founded a newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register, its first issue coinciding with the beginnings of the Texas Revolution. After the war, the paper was published in Harrisburg, Columbia, and Houston before Borden sold his interest in 1837. He held public positions in the new Republic of Texas government, including collector at the port of Galveston, and worked as an agent of the Galveston City Company, selling lots on the island.

Borden also turned his attention towards inventing, experimenting with mechanical devices and food preservation. One of his early large-scale projects was the meat biscuit, a dried beef and flour mixture intended for use as preserved food capable of long-term storage. He spent several years promoting the product and moved to New York to further his efforts, but eventually suffered heavy monetary losses. Borden’s lasting wealth and fame came through his perfection of a process to condense milk, a product that enjoyed great success beginning in the late 1850s after some early setbacks. Several factories were established and Borden branched into other food processing businesses, including a meat-packing plant in Texas, where he spent part of his time.

Borden was married three times and had seven children. He died in Texas in 1874.


Frantz, Joe B. "Gail Borden, Jr." Handbook of Texas Online . .

From the guide to the Gail Borden Papers Col 874., 1830-1956 (bulk 1830-1860), (Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas)

Gail Borden, Jr. (1801-1874) prepared the first topographical map of Texas, founded and published the Telegraph and Texas Register, and invented condensed milk in 1856. The next year he founded the Gail Borden, Jr., and Company, which later became Borden, Inc., and operated until 2001.

Resource: Frantz, Joe B. Borden, Gail, Jr. Handbook of Texas Online, (accessed December 3, 2008).

From the guide to the J. Gail Borden, Jr. Papers 62-007; 66-032. 71016435., 1830-1910, 1932-1937, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Gail Borden, Jr. moved to Texas in 1829 and worked as a surveyor, newspaper publisher, land agent, public official and inventor.

He won lasting wealth and renown in the 1850s with his successful process for condensing milk.

From the description of Gail Borden papers [manuscript], 1830-1956. (Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library). WorldCat record id: 310574269


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Milk yield
  • Inventors--Texas
  • San Jacinto, Battle of, Tex., 1836
  • Land titles--Registration and transfer--Texas
  • Land titles--Registration and transfer
  • Condensed milk
  • Real property--Texas
  • Inventors
  • Dairy processing
  • Real property
  • Condensed milk--History
  • Inventions--1850-1890


not available for this record


  • Galveston (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Houston (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Wallkill (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Austin County (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • Houston (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Austin County (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Wallkill (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Galveston (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Early statehood, 1846-1861 (as recorded)
  • San Felipe (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • San Felipe (Tex.) (as recorded)