Samuel M. Williams, one of Ménard's early partners in the Galveston City Company, built his family's house on a suburban outlot, which explains its orientation away from Avenue P. Williams, who came to Mexican Texas in 1822 from Baltimore by way of New Orleans, was Stephen F. Austin's clerk and translator from 1823 to 1833. Williams invested in Ménard's town-founding scheme on Galveston Island in 1834, moving there from Brazoria County in 1837–1838.
Williams's biographer, Margaret Swett Henson, indicates that T. F. McKinney built this house for his business partner Williams in tandem with an identical house for himself at the southwest corner of 41st and Avenue Q (demolished). It is a five-bay-wide, central-hall wood cottage raised on tall brick piers. It was unusual among Galveston houses in having French doors that open onto the front veranda instead of sash windows. In 1844 Williams added a cupola and deck atop the hipped roof; the front veranda was eventually extended around the east side of the house to form a gallery. After Williams's death in 1858, the house was acquired by his lawyer Philip C. Tucker, whose family occupied it until 1953. In 1954 the house was sold to the Galveston Historical Foundation, restored, and opened to the public as Galveston's first historical house museum.