WILLIAM J. BORAH, of Dallas county, is a son of Lee and Catherine (Render) Borah, and is of German extraction. His paternal great-grandfather was a native of that country, and came to America in Colonial times, settling in the Susquehanna valley of Pennsylvania, where his son, our subject's grandfather, was born. The latter at as early day came by way of Pittsburgh, and down the Ohio river on flat-boats, and settled in Butler county, Kentucky, when that country was almost a wilderness. For many years he was engaged in rafting and flat-boating between points on the Ohio river and New Orleans, and died at an advanced age in the county of his adoption. Our subject's father, Lee Borah, was born in Butler county, Kentucky, February 10, 1808, and passed his early years in flat-boating on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He married Catherine Render, of Ohio county, Kentucky, a daughter of Joshua Render, a pioneer of western Kentucky. On account of his wife's health, Mr. Borah came to Texas in 1856, settling in Dallas county, where he purchased 320 acres of land lying on Grapevine prairie, which was then unimproved. He spent the remainder of his life on that farm, dying in 1877, at the age of sixty-nine years. His wife died at the same place, in 1851, and she and her husband are buried at the Bear creek cemetery, nearby. They were both members of the Baptist Church, and were the parents of six children, all but one of whom reached maturity, viz.: Christopher C., who enlisted in the Confederate army at the open of the war, and died from cold contracted on a forced march at Arkansas Post, during his term of service; the next child, a daughter, died in infancy; William J., the subject of this sketch; Jane, the wife of A. H. Boyd, a Tax Collector of Tarrant county; Martha A., wife of Thomas Powell, of Grapevine prairie; Rosie A., wife of J. P. Terrill, of Elizabethtown, Denton County, Texas.
William J. Borah, our subject, was born in Butler county, Kentucky, August 27, 1842, and was fourteen years of age when his parents came to Texas. His youth was passed on a farm, and in February, 1862, he enlisted in the Confederate army, in the First Texas Squadron, and saw his first service at Chattanooga, Tennessee. After that battle he was in Gano’s command, and was with General John Morgan in his celebrated raid in Kentucky and Ohio, and participated in all the fights, marches, thrilling adventures and wild orgies which characterized that most wonderful military expedition. He was with Morgan at the time of his capture, and was near him when he was taken. He was captured with the remainder of the command, and after spending a short time at Indianapolis, Indiana, was taken to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, shortly afterward to Camp Douglas, Chicago, and after the expiration of twenty-one months was taken to City Point to be exchanged. They were then paroled under instructions not to go south of the north line of South Carolina, but Mr. Borah went over the line, and, being in the vicinity of his regiment, rejoined it, secured a furlough, and was on his way home at the time of the surrender,
Mr. Borah tells some interesting recollections of the days when he served under Morgan, as well as of the days when he attempted to make his way back home to Texas without transportation or money. He reached home at the close of the war, wearing one shoe and with one foot tied up in a shirt, from the effects of a frost bite. He paid big last cent, $16 in Confederate money, to get across the river at Shreveport, Louisiana. Again at home and the war over, he settled down to farming on the old homestead, where be has since resided. Mr. Borah has one of the richest and best improved farms on Grapevine prairie, and it is the same his father bought in 1856, and has been in the family since. Although it was divided at the death of the father Mr. Borah bought his sisters' interests, and he now owns 292 acres of the original 320 acres, all of which is cultivated. He also owns other land in Tarrant county; adjoining, and is one of the most successful farmers is the community where he resides. It is a notable fact that there has never been a failure on the Borah homestead since it was first settled in 1856. Mr. Borah has the reputation of being one of the most energetic men in the western part of Dallas county, and everything on his place shows that this reputation is well deserved. He is liberal-minded and a public-spirited citizen, and lends a helping hand to all deserving purposes.
December 12, 1868, he married Miss Lou Terrill, a daughter of John Terrill, then residing at Grapevine, Tarrant county, but originally from Randolph county, Missouri, where Mrs. Borah was born, having come with her parents to Texas when a girl. The wife died August 6, 18--, leaving three children: Lee, May, now Mrs. C. L. Dillon, of this county, and Susie. Mr. Borah afterward married Miss Mary T. Bradley, a native also of Randolph county, Missouri, and a daughter of George W. Bradley, a resident of Taylor county, this State. To this union has been born five children, three of whom still survive, viz.: Jessie, Maud, and De Graff. Mr. and Mrs. Borah are members of the Baptist Church, as were his parents before him, and he also takes an active interest in the moral and educational needs of his neighborhood.
Source: History of Dallas County, Texas
Note: Catherine (Kate) Render was born 10 February 1814 in Ohio County, the daughter of Joshua Render and Mary (Polly) Jackson. Catherine was the oldest of eleven children. She married Lee Borah 22 June 1822 in Ohio County. She died 15 December 1861 in Tarrant County, Texas and is buried Bear Creek Cemetery, Euless, Tarrant County, Texas.
The Render Family
The writer has but an indistinct recollection of the head of the Render family in Ohio County. As far back as recollection extends, he sees a large, portly old gentleman (Joshua Render, Sr.) whose head was silvered over with grey, and who rode a fat horse. Joshua, George, and Robert Render were his sons and the early settlers of those once thrifty farms in the vicinity of the Render and McHenry coalmines. All were strict members of the Baptist church and industrious, honest, and peaceable members of society.
Colonel Joshua Render died at about middle age, leaving a family of children and grandchildren, all of whom, as far as known, are doing well.
George Render, the oldest son, was a preacher, well accepted where he was known, but spent most of his time on his farm. He preached only at such suitable times as occurred, receiving no pay or salary from the churches. He was a man remarkable for his strength and melody of voice, which was pleasing and enchanting to hear.
George Renders children, so far as recollected, died early in life. Green and George Render, and Rev. James Austin his only grandchildren rank among our best citizens.
Robert Render would have been a model citizen in any community; thoroughly modest and unassuming almost to a fault, he was a man of unusual good sense and sound judgment. He was seldom passed by when a juror, road viewer, commissioner, or arbitrator was needed, for his good, practical sense and scrupulous honesty always pointed him out as the best person. He left a long line of descendants, none of whom has ever tarnished the name of so good a man.
Source: Ohio County Kentucky in the Olden Days, by Harrison D. Taylor