Benjamin Rush Milam was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, on October 20, 1788. He was the fifth of the six children of Moses Milam and his wife, Elizabeth Pattie Boyd. With little or no schooling behind him he joined the 8th Regiment of the Kentucky Militia and was elected a lieutenant serving in the War of 1812.
Influenced by acquaintances, Milam joined the Mexican Revolutionaries in their attempts in gaining independence from Spain, and was commissioned as a colonel by Félix Trespalacios. His allegiances led to him being jailed on more than occasion, once only saved from being shot by the intervention of a United States Commissioner.
After the founding of the Mexican Republic in 1824 Milan returned to Mexico and was granted citizenship. He obtained empresario grants giving him the right to settle on Mexican land in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for new settlers, but several attempts failed to materialise.
Following a change of ruler in Mexico, Milam was once again imprisoned before escaping with the help of sympathetic jailers. Shortly after he joined the campaign to gain Texan independence from Mexico and played an integral part in the Texan forces successful campaign. Whilst in charge of the Siege of Bexar, Milam was shot in the head and died from his wounds.
A statue of Milam stands in San Antonio, Texas in recognition of the part he played in gaining Texan independence.