Yellow Fever in Millican, Texas

"The Village of the Dead"

Millican, a town in southern Brazos County, was decimated by the 1867 epidemic. The fever hit the town later than it did Huntsville, but by September 9th the postmaster sent one last telegraph to Houston to notify them that he was fleeing for fear of the fever. “‘Twill be useless,” he wrote, “to send mail matter to this place from this date, as no one will be here to receive it.” It was later discovered that the postmaster fled into the woods, and the telegraph operator died of the fever. On September 19th the Galveston Daily News reported that chaos ensued when a “stampede” of people evacuated Millican, and by September 23rd a man named Edward Miller wrote, “Millican is a thing that has been, every body that could leave, left, and the rest are dead men…it looks like the village of the dead.” Written on the same day, a letter from Bryan City declared that there had been thirty deaths in Millican over the last ten days: “There are now not enough left to bury the dead.”

By the time that the fever had run its course in Millican, the death toll was at a staggering 81 — 61 whites and 20 blacks (important to note, as these numbers show that the Myth of African-American Immunity was exactly that- a myth). A bustling city of 3,000 residents in 1864, Millican became a ghost town while the fever ran its course, and it never quite recovered. The epidemic, along with the extension of the Houston and Texas Central Railway to Bryan and the later bypassing of Millican by Highway 6, caused Millican’s population to decrease rapidly. As of 2014, the town was home to 241 residents.