Henry Millard, veteran of the battle of San Jacinto and one of the founders of Beaumont, the son of Josiah and Nancy (Tower) Millard, was born in Stillwater, New York, probably in 1796. He was a relation of both President Millard Fillmore and author Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1804 the Millard family moved to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Sometime between 1822 and 1825 Millard moved to Natchez, Mississippi, where on August 24, 1826, he married Mary Dewburleigh Barlace Warren Beaumont, the daughter of a prosperous Natchez merchant family. Their two sons were born in Natchez. In 1827 Millard went into business with his brother-in-law, Franklin Beaumont, opening a drug, medicine, book, and stationery store. Millard moved to New Orleans in 1832 and formed the partnership of Millard and Mason, a drug firm, with Samuel Mason of Massachusetts. Mason died on September 15, 1833, which brought financial problems to the business, and Mary Millard died on May 30, 1834. Millard formed a new partnership with Joseph P. Pulsifer and Thomas B. Huling and, leaving his sons to be reared in New Orleans, moved to Texas in August 1835. There Millard and Pulsifer opened a store in the settlement of Santa Anna on the Neches River. Huling kept another store in Zavalla, on the Angelina River. Millard began to speculate in land, and on September 4, 1835, the partnership, called J. P. Pulsifer and Company, purchased fifty acres along the Neches River, between the settlements of Santa Anna and Tevis Bluff. There the company laid out the town of Beaumont, named after Millard's late wife.
Later that fall Millard was elected a delegate from the Liberty District to the Consultation, where he served on numerous committees. On November 13, 1835, he cast his vote for the new municipality of Jefferson. The Millard family tradition is that Millard himself named the municipality after his brother-in-law in Natchez, Jefferson Beaumont, but there is insufficient evidence to prove this story. Millard was also elected to serve on the General Council of the Consultation, but he soon resigned to take the commission of lieutenant colonel in the revolutionary army. For a time he was stationed at Nacogdoches as a recruiting officer. In February 1836 he accompanied Gen. Sam Houston to treat with the Cherokee Indians. In the spring of 1836 Millard, commanding a regular battalion of infantry, joined Houston's army while it was camped on the Brazos and marched with it on the long retreat toward San Jacinto. During the battle on April 21 Millard led two companies of regular infantry and a battalion of volunteers to capture the Mexican breastwork. After the battle Houston gave him two duelling pistols belonging to Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna. Millard's descendants later donated the pistols to the Republic of Texas Museum.
During the summer of 1836 Millard became involved in an army plot to arrest Acting President David G. Burnet. The plot failed, and Burnet eventually had Millard "suspended" from the army. That fall Millard returned to Beaumont, where from 1838 to 1840 he served as chief justice of the new county of Jefferson. In 1840 Millard was alderman of Beaumont; he held office briefly as justice of the peace. In 1837 he also became a charter member of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas, serving as its secretary in 1840–41. Millard moved to Galveston in January 1842 to seek new business opportunities and became tax assessor for Galveston County. He also rejoined the Texas militia as colonel commandant of the Fourth Regiment, Second Brigade, stationed at Galveston. He began to suffer from poor health, however, and after various bouts with serious illness, he died on August 28 or 29, 1844. He was buried in the Episcopal Cemetery on Broadway on August 30, 1844, by the Masons of Harmony Lodge No. 6 in Galveston, with whom he had affiliated the previous year.