Arriving in Texas in 1822 under an assumed name with little but good family connections, some mercantile experience, and fluent Spanish, Williams was hired as secretary in charge of Austin's colonial land office at San Felipe and before long had acquired large holdings of his own. In partnership with Thomas F. McKinney he set up a commission house that did a thriving business and later added a small banking function. The two men helped found the Galveston City Company and in 1848 Williams opened his Commercial and Agricultural Bank in that city.
Over three decades Williams participated in the events that determined the course of Texas history and did much to advance the development of Texas and its economy—a less romantic but no less vital role than that of more popular folk-heroes.
This study makes extensive use of heretofore largely unexplored manuscript material, notably the Samuel May Williams Papers at the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, Texas.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press