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Historical Marker in
Moffett Park, Gainesville, TX: Cooke County, C.S.A. 2nd Frontier
Bourland's Cavalry (Bourlands "Border" Regiment).
Col. James G. Bourland, soldier and state senator, was born in
South Carolina on August 11, 1801, to Benjamin and Nancy Bourland.
He was married twice, to Catherine Wells and Nancy
Salina, and had
seven children. He lived in Kentucky and Tennessee, where he
traded in slaves and horses, before he moved to what is now Lamar
County, Texas, in 1837. He led a volunteer company against Indians
in 1841. Later that year he served as second-in-command to William
C. Young in another campaign and stayed when Young organized the
Third Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles, for the Mexican War.
After serving as a deputy surveyor, he became the collector of
customs for the Red River District in 1842 and was elected to the
Senate of the First and Second state legislatures. A clash over
customs duties with the crew of a United States ship in 1843 led
to his being awarded a substantial sum of money by a United States
court five years later. After his father, who had also settled in
Texas, died in 1851, Bourland invested in a mercantile enterprise
and founded a plantation on land now in Cooke County. During the
late 1850s he again led a volunteer company against Indians. When
the Civil War began, he served as provost marshal for the region
in which he resided and in that role directed the investigation
that climaxed with the Great Hanging at Gainesville in 1862.
Afterward, he was authorized to organize and lead the "Border
Regiment," which remained in North Texas although it was in
Confederate service, and was later given control of all troops on
the northwestern frontier. He was accused of atrocities, in
addition to the Great Hanging, but Confederate officials ignored
the accusations. After the war ended he received a presidential
pardon and was acquitted by a civil court. He subsequently lived
in seclusion until his death, on August 20, 1879.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bourland Family File, Sherman Municipal
Library, Sherman, Texas. Richard B. McCaslin, Tainted Breeze: The
Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas (Ph.D. Dissertation,
University of Texas at Austin, 1988). William S. Speer and John H.
Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United
States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South
Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Rex Wallace
Strickland, "History of Fannin County, Texas, 1836-1843,"
Southwestern Historical Quarterly 33, 34 (April, July 1930)."
Col. James Bourland was the "Float-Senator" in the Texas Senate
from the district of Fannin, Red River, and Bowie Counties. 25
Feb, 1846, 1st Session. He served for 4 years.
"During the Mexican War (1846-47), Bourland, along with William C.
Young, raised one thousand troops and marched them to San Antonio,
where they were mustered in. From " Wright, "Texas in the War...."
In the "Encyclopedia of the New West," Ed. By William S. Speer,
Marshall Texas: The United States Biographical Pub. County, 1881,
it states "When William C. Young raised a regiment [3rd Reg.,
Texas Mounted Volunteers] for the Mexican war, ... Mr. Bourland
was elected lieutenant-colonel, and his brother William Bourland,
major. But the war closed about the time they reached the Rio
Grande and they never participated in any battle." The Regiment
was later surrendered by General E.K. Smith, commanding
Trans-Mississippi Department, on 26 May 1865. Also know as the
"Texas Border Cavalry Battalion" and later the "Texas Border
"Among the prominent families of Delaware Bend was Col. James
Boreland [sic]... And his son-in-law, Col. A.B. Manion. These two
men came with their families to Cooke County several years before
the Civil War and located at the upper end of Delaware Bend, which
in those days was on the direct route between the East Texas
markets and Fort Arbuckle, fifty or sixty miles nearly directly
north. Boreland and Manion engaged in the mercantile business and
dealt with the soldiers at Fort Arbuckle and the Indians from the
north side of Red River. The carried a large stock of merchandise,
and also raised much corn and many hogs,, which they sold
principally to the government." "Fall Term of Court, 1857: Ordered
that James Bourland be appointed presiding officer at all
elections for the year 1857 for precinct 3, and the elections to
be held at the store or house of James Bourland.
Capt. James Bourland, Commanding Officer of Texas Rangers, Mounted
Volunteers. Enlisted 28 Oct, 1858, discharged 28 Apr, 1859. In the
Civil War, the "Bourland Texas Cavalry" was organized in early
1863. Col. Bourland commanded a regiment whose duty it was to
"protect the North-western frontier against the hostile Indians in
the darkest day ever known in that region."
In the cartoon "Texas Lore" by Patrick M. Reynolds, a story is
told this way: "During the Civil War, as Sophia Coffee was wining
and dining some Yankee scouts at Glen Eden (her plantation in
Grayson county,) she heard they were seeking Col. James Bourland,
the Confederate leader of Texas' Frontier Defenders. While her
guests were busy, Sophia slipped away, swam her horse across the
Red River, warned Col. Bourland & helped prevent an invasion of
North Texas. Sophia, widow of Holland Coffee, died in 1899. Today
their home, Glen Eden, lies beneath Lake Texoma." Sophie was
featured in the book "Legendary Ladies of Texas" by Abernathy
about ladies of the evening. Patti Rochette states that a Texas
list maker lists Col. James Bourland as a frequent guest.
Information from an unpublished draft manuscript titled NORTHEAST
TEXAS PIONEERS 1800-1877, copyright by Skipper Steely, 1989,
Paris, Texas: "They moved from Kentucky back to Weakley County,
where he owned a race track with Nathaniel Herbert and Albert
Early, and apparently bought and sold slaves and horses. James
Bourland came to Texas according to land records, in 1836. He
surveyed land as a vocation, and sometime in 1837 chose a piece
for himself on the North Sulphur River southwest of Roxton. In
1842 he was named as collector of import duties for the Red River
District. In 1846 he was elected to represent Fannin, Lamar, Red
River and Bowie Counties. He was re-elected for a second term. In
1847 James Bourland also received a land certificate for helping
build or survey the Central National Road, which ran through part
of the Bourland property. James Bourland served in the Mexican
War, and was an incorporator of the Memphis El Paso and Pacific
Railroad. By 1853 he had moved to Delaware Bend in Cooke County.
In 1858 he raised a company to stop Indian depredations. At the
onset of the Civil War, James Bourland served as a member of
Young's 11th Texas Regiment, but later organized the 2nd Frontier
Regiment, Bourland's Texas Cavalry. In 1862 he was also named
provost Marshall of Cooke County. In 1864 Indian problems became
very serious, and Bourland led a group in pursuit that fall. Most
of all, James Bourland is known for his part in the Gainesville
Hangings. He is buried in the Orlena Cemetery."
More About James G. Bourland:
Burial: Orlena Cemetery
Election: February 25, 1846, Fannin, Red River, And Bowie County,
Military active duty: Abt. 1846, San Antonio, Bexar County,
Marker Title: Cooke County, C.S.A./2nd Frontier Regiment
Address: Moffett Park
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: East of Elm Fork Bridge on SH 51, in Moffett
Marker Text: Military, defense center in Civil War. Cooke voted
231 to 137 anti-secession, yet nine military units served
Confederacy from here. In constant danger of Federal or Indian
attack. Col. Wm. C. Young of Cooke, with 1,000 men took Indian
Territory forts from Federals April-May 1861. Commissioners set up
regular patrols. Forted a home as refuge for dependents. Gave
$4,000 for munitions and wool cards to make cloth. Cotton gin,
grist mill, gunsmiths, blacksmiths made war goods. C.S.A. Was
furnished Epsom salts from Indian creek. Corn, beef, pork, wheat,
other produce fed the military, home front. County swapped 25
steers for salt for dependent families. People worked hard,
sacrificed much, protected homes of fighting men of Confederacy.
(Back of Cooke County, C.S.A.) Organized Oct. 1863 with
Gainesville as headquarters, the Second Frontier Regiment, Texas
Cavalry C.S.A. Guarded counties along Red River, to keep down
outlaws, Indians, deserters. Col. James Bourland (1803-1868) was
appointed Commander and it became known as "Bourland's Border
Regiment." Union invasion from north of Red River was constantly
threatened. These mounted troops patrolled, maintained posts along
river and in Indian Territory. Confederate Seminole troops served
with the unit. Famous Confederate Indian Gen. Stand Watie and his
Cherokee Brigade shared duty along perilous border. Bourland also
worked with Frontier Regiment, state troops, that maintained line
posts 100 MI. West, a day's horseback ride apart, from Red to Rio
Grande rivers, and with a state militia line 30 MI. To the west.
Erected by The State of Texas 1963.
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