Margaret Borland dies of "trail fever"

July 5th, 1873

On this day in 1873, Margaret Borland died of "trail fever" or "congestion of the brain" after successfully leading a drive of about 2,500 cattle from Victoria, Texas, to Wichita, Kansas. She was born in Ireland on April 3, 1824. Her family was among the Irish colonists who arrived in Texas in 1829 with John McMullen and James McGloin and settled at San Patricio. Margaret was thrice married and widowed. Her first husband, Harrison Dunbar, was killed in a private argument in Victoria soon after she bore their only child, a daughter. Margaret Dunbar married Milton Hardy several years later; Hardy died of cholera in 1855, leaving two more children with Margaret. Mrs. Hardy 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 left her Victoria home in the spring of that year with two sons, both under fifteen; a seven-year-old daughter; an even younger granddaughter; and a group of trail hands. She was said to be the only woman to have led a cattle drive. Her body was returned to Texas and buried in Victoria Cemetery.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

Share this article

Share the Texas Day by Day

Get a Piece of Texas History in Your Inbox

With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
Get your Texas Day by Day delivered straight to your inbox:

Calendar

Archive

  • Discover what happened on any date in Texas History.

  • View Now!

Send an eCard

Personalize a piece of Texas history. Share a Day by Day article with friends.

eCard image Send Now

Become a TSHA Member

Get insider access to the most exclusive Texas history club in the nation.

tsha logo Join Today!

Archive

  • Discover what happened on any date in Texas History.

  • View Now!

Send an eCard

Personalize a piece of Texas history. Share a Day by Day article with friends.

eCard image Send Now

Become a TSHA Member

Get insider access to the most exclusive Texas history club in the nation.

tsha logo Join Today!

Margaret Borland dies of "trail fever"

July 5th, 1873

On this day in 1873, Margaret Borland died of "trail fever" or "congestion of the brain" after successfully leading a drive of about 2,500 cattle from Victoria, Texas, to Wichita, Kansas. She was born in Ireland on April 3, 1824. Her family was among the Irish colonists who arrived in Texas in 1829 with John McMullen and James McGloin and settled at San Patricio. Margaret was thrice married and widowed. Her first husband, Harrison Dunbar, was killed in a private argument in Victoria soon after she bore their only child, a daughter. Margaret Dunbar married Milton Hardy several years later; Hardy died of cholera in 1855, leaving two more children with Margaret. Mrs. Hardy 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 left her Victoria home in the spring of that year with two sons, both under fifteen; a seven-year-old daughter; an even younger granddaughter; and a group of trail hands. She was said to be the only woman to have led a cattle drive. Her body was returned to Texas and buried in Victoria Cemetery.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

Share this article

Share the Texas Day by Day

Get a Piece of Texas History in Your Inbox

With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
Get your Texas Day by Day delivered straight to your inbox: