The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 81
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Benjamin Rush Milanm
fact that he distinguished himself for bravery during his service,
there is no definite record of his career at this time.6
At the close of the War of 1812, Ben Milam returned to his home
at Frankfort, Kentucky. He had practically no education, and
therefore had no opportunity to go into the professional world.
Nevertheless, he had unusual good sense and sound judgment
which made him naturally fitted for the life he was destined to
In 1815, having become dissatisfied with the prospects of his
future in Frankfort, Milam went to New Orleans with a certain
John Samuels, to take a large shipment of flour. Finding a rather
dull market in New Orleans, Milam, Samuels, and two others
chartered a schooner and sailed with the cargo to Maricaibo, on the
coast of South America.s During this voyage a yellow fever epi-
demic broke out, and the captain and a large number of the crew
died.9 Milam himself became seriously ill and was delirious for
several days. The voyage was a horrible one, for those who survived
the fever knew nothing about navigation. When it seemed that
nothing worse could befall them, they were caught in a storm which
lasted three days. Their vessel was hopelessly damaged, and it
was only by the narrowest margin that they ever managed to reach
land. In a letter to a friend, Milam said: "the waves were as high
as the hills around Frankfort, and surged clear over our decks."
The scarcity of food, he said, was their greatest problem.0o
There seems to be no record of Milam's activities between 1815
and 1817. In 1818, however, he was at the head of the Colorado
River, trading with the Comanche Indians." It was here that he
met and became acquainted with David G. Burnet, who afterwards
became the first president of the Republic of Texas. Burnet, it
seems, had left Cincinnati in 1817 and had gone to Natchitoches,
Louisiana. In the fall of 1817, threatened with tuberculosis, he
'Brown, J. H., Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, 132; see also Graham
to Cassidy (undated) in Milam Papers, Middlesboro, Kentucky.
'Holley, M. A., Texas, 245.
'Brown, J. H., Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, 128.
'A full description of this voyage is given by Dr. C. C. Graham in a
letter to Ben Cassidy in the Milam Papers, Middlesboro, Kentucky. Graham
was a, friend of Milam's during the War of 1812. Graham and Milam
seem to have kept in touch with each other throughout Milam's lifetime.
Cassidy was a reporter for a Frankfort paper.
'0Graham to Cassidy, in Milam Papers.
"Brown, J. H., Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, 132.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935, periodical, 1935; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/m1/95/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.