The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 190
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
chased by Williams. On reaching Galveston Bay, the Flight was
wrecked. Only a few articles were saved, among them this trunk.
When it was brought to the Rosenberg Library, the trunk con-
tained more than four thousand items, covering the span of Wil-
liams' life in Texas from 1822 to 1858, with additional papers
belonging to the estate and Williams' sons. The papers, a mine
of material on the industrial history of Galveston and Texas, also
recreate the lives of the men who settled Texas some 125 years ago.
John Miller Winterbotham, Galveston lawyer, businessman,
and library trustee, who was among the first to examine and
evaluate the collection, said:
The Samuel May Williams papers contain correspondence with lead-
ing public men of Texas and elsewhere, including a large number
of letters in Spanish by Mexican officials of the time preceding the
Texas Revolution, as well as some of the most intimate letters of
Stephen F. Austin in existence, several of which were written from
his prison in Mexico. The collection is rich in material relating
to the political, economic and social life of the times.
In addition to the material mentioned by Winterbotham, the
collection contains correspondence and papers relating to the
Texas Revolution and the Republic, the founding of Galveston,
and the operations of the firm of McKinney and Williams and of
In the main the papers are in remarkably good condition, many
of them being as readable today as the day they were written;
quite a few of the Spanish papers, however, are stained and
faded. The scraps of paper on which many are written testify to
the scarcity of that commodity. Williams' methodical character-
istics are demonstrated in the notes on the backs of many papers,
giving name of writer, date, and contents in his clear Spencerian
It is primarily from these papers preserved by the man himself
that this sketch of the life of Williams has been compiled.
WILLIAMS' EARLY LIFE
Samuel May Williams, the son of Howell and Dorothea Wheat
Williams, was born at Providence, Rhode Island, on October 4,
1John M. Winterbotham to John Thomas Lee, September 7, 1923; also descriptive
label written for the Williams Papers.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/236/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.