The Yellow Rose Of Texas

Good morning sunshine! We have been in the USA for the last 3 days and I think my kids and I are now acclimated and jet-lag free. With that said, I think I can now start wrapping my brain on some creative blog ideas!

Since I am from Texas and am here for the next few weeks, I thought facts about this great state would be appropriate. And the first one is about the song The Yellow Rose of Texas.

Wikipedia suggests the song is based on a Texas legend from the days of the Texas War of Independence. According to the legend, a woman named Emily D. West — a mulatto, and hence, the song’s reference to her being “yellow” — who was seized by Mexican forces during the looting of Galveston seduced General Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican forces. The legend credits her supposed seduction with lowering the guard of the Mexican army and facilitating the Texan victory in the Battle of San Jacinto waged in 1836 near present-day Houston. Santa Anna’s opponent was General Sam Houston, who won the battle literally in minutes, and with almost no casualties.

Historians assert that if West was with Santa Anna, it was not by her choice, nor did she play any part in deciding the battle. The seduction legend was largely unknown until the publication in the 1950’s of a version based on William Bollaert’s account. Bollaert, a British subject, spent two years in Texas, 1842 to 1844 and was a prolific writer, publishing more than eighty articles on various subjects. [4]
The basic facts[5] appear to be that Emily West migrated to Texas from New York City in late 1835. Sources describe her as a teen or as a woman of twenty. According to one version of the legend, she became an indentured servant on the plantation of James Morgan near what was then called New Washington and is now Morgan’s Point. Because of her indenture to Morgan, some historians say, she became known by his surname, as was the custom for indentured servants as well as slaves.[4]

Santa Anna reportedly saw West in April 1836 when he invaded New Washington prior to the Battle of San Jacinto. Legend states that she was forcibly placed in his camp. Allegedly, Santa Anna was with her when Texan General Sam Houston‘s troops arrived, forcing him to flee without weapons or armor and enabling his capture the next day.

There’s a yellow rose in Texas, that I am going to see,
No other darky [sic] knows her, no darky only me
She cryed [sic] so when I left her it like to broke my heart,
And if I ever find her, we nevermore will part.

Chorus:

She’s the sweetest rose of color this darky ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds,they sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your Dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of Tennessee.
When the Rio Grande is flowing, the starry skies are bright,
She walks along the river in the quite [sic] summer night:
She thinks if I remember, when we parted long ago,
I promised to come back again, and not to leave her so. [Chorus]
Oh now I’m going to find her, for my heart is full of woe,
And we’ll sing the songs togeather [sic], that we sung so long ago
We’ll play the bango gaily, and we’ll sing the songs of yore,
And the Yellow Rose of Texas shall be mine forevermore. [Chorus]

More than 25 years later, the lyrics were changed to eliminate the more racially charged lyrics. “Soldier” replaced “darky.” And the first line of the chorus was also changed to read, “She’s the sweetest little flower…..”

More facts about The Yellow Rose

Youtube.com Video Yellow Rose of Texas

That’s our first fact about Texas…more to come tomorrow!

About Alexandra Wallace Currie

A breast cancer survivor since October 2010 with loads to talk about and share! Founder of The Pink Pom-Pom Project - a crafting for cancer therapy initiative helping other victims, friends and family through treatment and diagnosis. Now based in Fairfield, CT, USA, The PPPP hosts monthly Stitch&Bitch events and Open Crafting classes to local community organisations. We hope to teach everyone that working with your hands is easy and anything is possible!
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1 Response to The Yellow Rose Of Texas

  1. ecky malick says:

    fascinating story. grew up singing the song but had no idea what it was about.

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