The Boren family was established in the republic of Mexico in pioneer times in its development and the representatives of the name have been identified with the agricultural and stock-raising interests of this portion of the continent, the subject of this review being now a leading stock farmer of Montague county. He was born in Lamar county, Texas, February 2, 1845, and throughout the period of his youth assisted in farm labor. His educational privileges were limited but in the school of experience he has received many valuable lessons. He spent his youth in the home of his parents, James and Eda (Bags) Boren, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Arkansas, where they were married. The paternal grandfather, William Boren, of Kentucky, became a pioneer in the republic of Mexico in 1833 and was granted by the government a league and labor of land, which he located in what is now Lamar and Collin counties of Texas. He improved farms in both counties, making his first settlement in Lamar county, but later establishing his home in Collin county, where he died at a ripe old age. He owned a large and valuable farm and was regarded as one of the leading agriculturists and substantial citizens of the community. He prospered in his undertakings, although in early days he underwent all the deprivations and hardships incident to life on the frontier. He was wise, however, in establishing the home for his family in a fertile region in Texas, where the new and growing country offered excellent business opportunities. He was well known and was highly respected for his integrity and honor, which were ever above reproach, so that he left to his children the priceless heritage of an untarnished name as well as gratifying financial success. He had seven children: James, Israel, John, Richard, Mack, Henry and Miriam, the wife of Wilson Daniels, both deceased.
James Boren was born in Kentucky and spent some time in Arkansas, where he was married. He afterward came to Texas when his father settled in this part of the country in 1833 and his attention was also directed to farming interests in Lamar county. He did not improve the opportunity, however, of securing a large tract of land but contented himself with a smaller farm, which he cultivated throughout his remaining days. His death occurred, however, when he was in middle life, in 1848. His wife survived him and married again, becoming the wife of Hugh Woody, a prominent pioneer farmer, whose worth in the community was widely acknowledged. He lives in Collin county. His wife, the mother of our subject, passed away in 1863. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Woody was blessed with one son, John Woody, who is now a resident of Oklahoma, while by her former marriage Mrs. Woody had four children: William, who served in the Confederate army and afterward engaged in farming near the present home of our subject; Isom, who was killed at Millikan’s Bend while serving in the Confederate army; Alexander B., of this review; Matilda, who became Mrs. Lisonby and had one child, while after the death of her first husband she married a Mr. Wilkison and had six children. The mother, Mrs. Woody, was a devoted and loyal member of the Christian church, interested in its work and the extension of its influence.
Alexander B. Boren was only three years old at the time of his father’s death, after which he was reared by his paternal grandfather, spending his youth largely in farm labor. He received in that home good moral instruction but had no opportunity for the acquirement of an education, as there were no schools in the neighborhood, the homes of the settlers being so widely scattered as to make public education an impractical matter. However, experience and observation have taught him many valuable lessons in and in business life he has gained much valuable knowledge. He remained with his grandfather until sixteen years of age, when he enlisted for service of Company I under Captain Wordan with Fitzhugh’s cavalry. The regiment was sent to Arkansas and he participated in the cotton plant fight. There he became convinced that he did not want any more military service and because of his youth he was able to get his discharge. Later, however, he joined the state militia and was detailed to the commissary department, being assigned to the duty of driving beef cattle for the army and in that capacity he served until the close of war.
In May, 1865, Mr. Boren was married, at which time his possessions consisted of a horse, saddle bridle and about three dollars in money. His grandfather Borne, however, gave him twenty-five acres of land, whereon he built a log cabin and started out life with the earnest determination of establishing a good home and securing a competence. He began raising hogs and was meeting with fair success when, in 1868, he was accidentally shot in the leg and this caused the amputation of the member. For two years he was in very precarious health, never worked, and he thus lost everything he had save his courage. Finally, however, he recovered from his injuries and resumed the active work of the farm, continuing to reside there until 1871, when he traded his little home for the claim upon which he now lives. It was then an unimproved tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres. He had some difficulty about the claim but finally recorded it as a homestead and secured a good title to it. With characteristic energy he made the improvements, placed stock upon the farm and continued the work of cultivating the soil. Just prior to his arrival here the Indians had been very hostile and the Red River valley was the scene of much distress and trouble to the few settlers. Mr. Boren, however, kept a close lookout for the approach of the Indians and although he saw many raiding parties of red men running stock from interior counties and crossing the river he was not molested, his only loss being one horse. In 1872 Mr. Broadus assigned him a herd of cattle to raise on shares to run for five years, at the end of which time his share of the herd was four hundred and sixty head. He found, however, that he owed Mr. Broadus seven hundred and fifty dollars, but Mr. Broadus did not force him to make the payment and at the end of another year and half, so prosperous had he had been, Mr. Broadus owed Mr. Boren five thousand dollars for cattle which he had bought from him. Thus he got a start in the cattle business which assured him a successful future. He has ever been grateful to Mr. Broadus for his leniency in money matters in those early days and his memory is enshrined deep in the heart of Mr. Boren, who believes that no better man has ever lived in Texas on Texas soil. He continued his farming operations and added to his land as fast as possible until he had over seventeen hundred acres. He has given each of his nine children a farm and a start in the cattle business and he still owns his homestead place of four hundred and eighty acres, of which one hundred and forty acres is under a high state of cultivation. He yet owns a good bunch of cattle and flock of sheep, also good hogs, mules and horses and he has a park containing native deer. He has given his undivided attention to the cultivation of the soil and the raising of stock and his efforts have been attended with success.
Mr. Boren was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Wilkinson, who was born in Iowa, September 4, 1846. She has shared with her husband in the hardships and trials of frontier life and been an able assistant to him. She is a daughter of Noah H. and Sarah (Van Winkle) Wilkinson, both of whom were natives of Ohio, whence they emigrated to Iowa and afterward came to the Republic of Texas, settling in Grayson county, where Mr. Wilkinson secured from the government a claim of six hundred and forty acres of improved land. He was a prominent and well known farmer, highly respected by all who knew him and both he and his wife continued their residence upon the old homestead where they located in pioneer days when Texas was an independent republic. They were devoted members of the Methodist church. In the family of this worthy couple were a daughter and a son: Mary E., now Mrs. Boren; and M. B., of Oklahoma. Mr. and Mrs. Boren have become the parents of ten children: Alice, who married J. Mars and died, leaving one child; Isom, who died in childhood; Ruhamer, the wife of G. R. Presly; Belzora, the wife of W. Ketchum; Sadie, who married R. Southworth; Alonzo, who follows farming; May, the wife of C. Peveler; Samuel, an agriculturist; and Nellie, the wife of E. Gayden.
Mr. Boren exercises the right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Democracy and keeps well informed on issues of the day but has never sought or desired office, preferring to give his undivided attention to his business interests, which have been carefully managed and have therefore brought to him a gratifying measure of prosperity. Although handicapped by his crippled condition he has displayed an energy and resolution of purpose that are indeed commendable and throughout his life has won not only success but also an honored name.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. I (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 503-505.