Port Sullivan was on a low bluff just downstream from a shoal of giant limestone boulders in the Brazos River, one mile northeast of Farm Road 485 in eastern Milam County. A stone marker erected at the site in 1936, during the Texas Centennial, gave rise to the erroneous name Fort Sullivan. On December 12, 1835, August (or Augustus) W. Sullivan (Sillaven, Sillivan, Sullaven) gained title to the bluff overlooking the Brazos. In 1843 the steamboat Mustang traveled up the river as far as the bluff, demonstrating the possibility of steam navigation to this point. Steamboats again made it up the Brazos to this area in 1850. Reuben Anderson, a planter with land east of the river in Robertson County, persuaded Sullivan to subdivide his land on the bluff into town lots, and on May 1, 1851, two of Anderson's sons purchased the first lots sold in the new town. In 1852 Port Sullivan had a population of 200, four stores, one circular sawmill, two or three warehouses, and a post office. One merchant traveled to New York to purchase merchandise for his store. The town also had several doctors and a lawyer. Steamboats in Galveston advertised that through bills of lading would be issued on shipments up the Brazos to Port Sullivan. Shipments from the town included cotton, hides, and pecans. The fact that it was free from flooding, unlike the surrounding agricultural land, contributed greatly to the town's development. By 1860 the population of Port Sullivan had grown to 680, and Port Sullivan Male and Female College had been established.
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Port Sullivan by the Numbers
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