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Margaret Borland


Margaret Borland

Margaret Borland, Trail Boss, 1824 – 1873 Margaret Borland was a Texas rancher that was born in Ireland in 1824. Margaret was married and widowed three times. Her first husband, Harrison Dunbar, was killed in a private argument in Victoria soon after she bore their only child. Margaret married Milton Hardy several years later; Hardy died of cholera in 1855, leaving two more children with Margaret. Margaret then married Alexander Borland about 1858, a marriage that produced four children.

Borland died in 1867; several of Margaret’s children and grandchildren died the same year in a yellow fever epidemic. She had assisted Borland in his cattle business and, after his death, assumed full responsibility for the estate. Though she left the physical labor to her hired hands, she bought and sold livestock. By 1873 she owned a herd of more than 10,000 cattle. She was said to be the only woman known to have led a cattle drive.

She left her Victoria home in the spring of 1873 with two sons, both under fifteen, a seven-year-old daughter, an even younger granddaughter, a group of trail hands, and about 2,500 cattle. But after successfully reaching Wichita, Kansas, she died, on July 5, 1873, of an illness variously described as “trail fever” and “congestion of the brain.” Her body was returned to Texas and buried in Victoria Cemetery.

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