Gail Borden, Jr. received his only formal schooling in Indiana during 1816 and 1817, learning the art of surveying. In 1822, Borden set out with his brother, Thomas, originally intending to move to New Orleans but instead, somehow ended up in Mississippi. Borden stayed in Mississippi for seven years working as the county surveyor and as a schoolteacher in Bates and Zion Hill. In 1829, Borden left Mississippi for Texas. As a surveyor he plotted the towns of Houston and Galveston. In 1835, he became involved in creating the first topographical map of Texas.