GOD & TEXAS: Leander Randon Millican
Lallie had a way with words. Even as a young teen, people were impressed with his communication skills. Lallie could be trusted to diffuse volatile situations and to open dialogue for peace.
Born in Brazos County, Texas, in 1853, Lallie grew up in the town of Millican, near what is now known as College Station. It was in this area that many of Stephen F. Austin’s Old 300 settlers built communities after they arrived between 1823-24.
The town of Millican was named after Old 300 immigrant Robert Hemphill Millican. Robert left his home in South Carolina and came to Texas with nine sons, their spouses, and children. This entourage totaled thirty-seven members, providing the nucleus of the settlement that was formed.
However, the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1867 devastated the town of Millican. Lallie and his mother escaped to the town of Lampasas to stay with relatives until the plague ceased. But within weeks, Lallie’s mother died of the fever, leaving him in the care of his aunt Amanda Nichols. At the age of 14, Lallie had to find a job and make his way in life.
Lampasas was a true wild west town. It was dominated by a criminal element that sustained robberies, saloon brawls, and general lawlessness. Known as being responsible and fearless, Lallie was appointed to the position of deputy sheriff at the age of 19. Buren Sparks commented about Lallie, “He had a strange power over bad men. They seemed to wince and cower under the steady gaze of his unflinching gray eyes. He was afraid of no man in the flesh.”
But Lallie finally met someone that brought trepidation and submission into his life. In August 1874, Lallie attended a Methodist camp-meeting at Cherokee Creek, San Saba County. He recognized that his life was empty without God. His awesome natural skills were weak compared to having the Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit in his life. In awe and humility, he accepted Christ as Savior, and embraced the Call of God into the ministry.
From then on, Leander “Lallie” Randon Millican was known throughout West Texas as the “Cowboy Preacher.” He married Georgia Saunders in 1878 and headed west to preach in cow camps, pulpits, and saloons. Under Lallie’s influence, churches and camp-meetings sprang up that still stand today. Some called him the “sky pilot of the plains,” while others lovingly referred to him as “Brother Lallie.” After 64 years of ministry, Lallie died in 1938, and was buried at the Paisano Baptist Encampment near Alpine.
Lallie had many natural gifts of eloquence and persuasion. But he followed the example of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1 NIV, “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
This same uncomplicated yet life-giving message is needed today.
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