"The Riot at Millican" (July 19, 1868)
"The Riot at Millican." The New Orleans Times [New Orleans, LA] 19 July 1868: 1.
Times' Special Dispatches,
The Riot at Millican.
Negroes Attempt to Kill a White Man.
The Interposition of an Agent of the Freedmen's Bureau Set at Defiance.
Armed Hostility to the Government.
More Serious Consequences Apprehended.
Special by Telegraph to the N. O. Times.
Houston, July 18.--- There has been a formidable negro riot at Millican. From passengers on the train news is received of a riot of serious dimensions, having its origin in a charge made against a white man name Holiday, of assisting to hang a negro. Holiday denied the charge, and insisted that the negro was alive in an adjacent county, and offered to produce him, but the negroes refused to accept his denial or wait for the proof.
They immediately armed themselves, and marched out to kill Holiday. The sheriff at once called out a posse, and a conflict ensued. Five negroes were killed and the sheriff called for help, as the negroes were assembling in force.
The agent of the Freedman's Bureau at Bryan came down on the train to Millican the same night, with a posse to inquire into the disturbance. He found three hundred armed negroes in position, and went to them under a white flag, and demanded their surrender to the civil authorities, but was driven off.
He then put himself at the bend of the whites, declaring he would arrest them by force. An attack was made and fifteen negroes killed, but not a single white man. The negroes were in superior force and refused to disperse.
United States troops from Brenham were ordered to disperse them on July 18th.
Late yesterday evening a squad of United States troops, twenty strong, arrived at Millican and a scouting party was sent out, and three hostile negroes were killed.
The negroes are fortifying, and the excitement ran high up to 4 o'clock P.M.
Yesterday Capt. Randlett, Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, went to the hostile camp, and demanded that the negroes lay down their arms, but they persistently refused.
Further serious consequences are apprehended.
We copy as follows from the Galveston News of the 17th inst.:
By the afternoon train from Houston we have intelligence of a very serious riot at Millican on Wednesday afternoon. A mob of negroes led by a negro preacher named Brooks, and a school teacher, a white man, attempted to hang Mr. William Holliday, who formerly kept a hotel at that place. The white people would not permit it to be done. The following statement of the express messenger on the Central Road will give the subsequent events. It was written yesterday:
"Great excitement at Millican. The negroes in mass demanded one Wm. Holiday to hang him. The white people turned out to protect him. A line of battle was formed and skirmishing for about an hour. Five of the negroes were killed. Number of wounded not known. The up train last night was pressed at Bryan to run down with reinforcements. About 200 volunteers went down from Bryan. One negro was killed last night. Dispatches sent everywhere for men. No express freight from Bryan to-day on account of the train being in charge of volunteers. I apprehend much trouble. The negroes are led by one preacher Brooks and a white school teacher. The whites led by the Freedman's Bureau agent and the Sheriff.
The Bureau agent has sent to Brenham for soldiers. The train from Brenham down yesterday was immediately sent back for troops. The express manager reports the Freedmen in large numbers in camp at what is called "Freedman's Town", in the environs of Millican, and the white men camped in the town proper at the depot. When he left there was no fighting going on. Both parties were sending couriers through the country. The negroes had been considerably reinforced. They refuse to disperse at the order of the agent of the Bureau and the Sheriff, and say, " Come and take us if you want us?" The negroes threaten the women and children of Millican, and they have left the place.
[Houston Ku-Klux Vedetto Extra]
Houston, July 18, 1868.
The following dispatch was received a few moments since by W.R. Baker, President of the H. & T. C. R. R.:
Bryan, July 16-12 M.
"W.R. Baker- Conductor. Spencer sent back from Millican to the station. His train seized by the Sheriff of this county and ordered to report to this place for reinforcements.
"Report freedmen in large numbers three or four miles from Millican.
"Would it not be well to order Grimes' train to relieve freight train, so that the latter might pass to Houston and not be interfered with?"
The following additional dispatch was received from Conductor Spencer: Bryan, July 16- 12 M. W.R. Baker- Train seized by authority at Millican, and engine sent back to Bryan for help. The freight stall going on. I do not know when I shall get clear.
A.W. Spencer, Conductor.