Following his military service in the War of 1812 and a stint as a sub-Indian agent to the Cherokees, Sam Houston moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in March 1818 to read law under the direction of Judge James Trimble. It took Houston just six months to complete his course of study, and he subsequently practiced law in the Volunteer State before serving as the governor of Tennessee from 1827 to 1829.
Later, when Houston moved to Texas in December 1832, he returned to the practice of law. While he lived on his property in Huntsville, Texas, he often sought refuge and escape in his law office, a simple log cabin near his Woodland Home. Serving as one of the first United States senators from Texas, he used this space as an unofficial meeting place to discuss matters of importance with friends, allies, and constituents. According to family tradition, Houston banned women from entering the small wooden cabin and allowed only Joshua, his most trusted slave, to clean it.
When the Smedes family purchased Houston's Woodland Home in 1858, a decision was made to move the law office to a different site. In 1905, after students at Sam Houston Normal Institute restored the cabin, Professor J. L. Pritchett relocated it back to its original location.