The drive from my home to Humble always included passing through Bordersville. The community of mostly black residents was a friendly neighborhood. However, it is a community that is now quickly disappearing. When I pass through the area these days, I still see some homes of longtime residents and churches that continue to welcome members and visitors. But sadly, many homes have been replaced with businesses, apartment complexes and other developments which blur the boundaries of Bordersville.
Bordersville was never a formal community; it had no charter or civic leaders. The community began in 1927 when Edgar Borders built his sawmill business on his property just west of Humble. He was a considerate proprietor who allowed his employees to live on his property near the sawmill. According to A.W. Jones, a prominent resident of the small community, Borders would say to an employee, “You can live on the property from this tree to that tree,” but no property lines were drawn and no titles were issued to the employees. The Borders sawmill closed in 1949, but the residents continued to live on the property.
Since the employees of the sawmill were black, it is widely assumed that all residents of Bordersville were black people. However, Jones said that three white families also made their home in the community. Mr. and Mrs. Elmo Hues and their son Alton lived north of FM 1960 in Bordersville. Elmo’s brother owned an auto repair shop which was adjacent to the Hues property. The Hues family continued to be residents of Bordersville into the 1960s or later.
In addition to the Hues, the Crockett, Norris and Baker families also resided in Bordersville until the late 1940s or ‘50s. I remember visiting the Crockett and Norris families in their homes. However, both families moved to Humble by the end of the 1950s.
Daddy was also friends with some of the black families who lived in Bordersville. Daddy had a syrup mill and made sugar cane syrup for several years. Some of the men who lived in Bordersville worked at the syrup mill. At times they would come to our house to visit and discuss business or Daddy would go to their home; frequently my sister and I accompanied Daddy on his visits. I considered the residents to be our friends.
We enjoyed attending church in Bordersville when one of the churches would have a revival. I suppose Daddy’s friends invited him to church. It was not a regular activity for our family, but we did appreciate the church services when we were able to attend.
The City of Houston annexed most of the property that made up Bordersville in 1965, but the city did not provide services to the residents. The people were taxed, but they had no water piped to their houses and no sewer systems. The situation was not corrected until water services were installed in 1981. This was accomplished when some civic-minded citizens, including Jones, went to city hall and protested the treatment of the residents of Bordersville.
And now Bordersville is disappearing due to those services. Having water and sewer has made the property attractive to developers. I understand that things change; however, I am saddened to see the community of Bordersville disappear. Those who come after us will not know of this community that played a role in the growth of the Humble area.