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The 'Yellow Rose' of Texas

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Emily West Morgan (a.k.a. The Yellow Rose of Texas ) [[ NOTE: The above portrait is entitled Head of a Mulatto Woman It is not a portrait of Emily West
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2007

      Emily West Morgan

      (a.k.a. "The 'Yellow Rose' of Texas")

      [[ NOTE: The above portrait is entitled 'Head of a Mulatto Woman'
      It is not a portrait of 'Emily West Morgan', but rather, is an 1861,
      'Oil on paper on linen' work created by artist 'Joanna Boyce Wells' ]]

      Emily West Morgan

      (also known as
      "The Yellow Rose of Texas") was a
      young woman of
      Mixed-Race Lineage
       who, via the popular Texas folk-song,
      `The Yellow Rose of Texas, is forever
      remembered for her heroism during the
      war of independence from Mexico

      And the story begins in 1830 which
      was the year that James Morgan,
      an entrepreneur and enslaver from
      Philadelphia, immigrated to Texas.

      He came to capitalize on the cheap land and
      business opportunities in the Mexican colony
      which would ultimately become Texas .

      He formed several partnerships with New
      York speculators yet Texas did not permit
      slavery at the time, so Morgan got around
      the law by converting those who he
      kept trapped in the matrilineal-based
      system of life-long `chattel-slavery' into 
      99-year-long "indentured servitude"
      (Note: usually indentured-servitude
      was no longer than seven (7) years).

      Morgan returned to New York in
      1835 in order to gather more 99-year
      "indentured servants" for his settlement.

      One of them was a twenty year old woman
      named Emily D. West, who was known for her
      `extraordinary intelligence and sophistication'.

      West was of a
      Mixed-RaceLineage, and,
      as was the custom for an indentured
      worker at the time, her last name was
      changed to the same of that of Morgan's.

      By the following year in 1836, the
      war for Texas ' independence from
      Mexico was in full swing.

      Morgan's now successful settlement,
      New Washington, was located near
      the mouth of the San Jacinto River .

      He freely gave his provisions to 'the Texas cause'.

      One parcel of land named Morgan's Point ran
      into San Jacinto Bay where flatboats were
      loaded with supplies; Emily West Morgan
      was in charge of loading those flatboats.

      On April 18, 1836, General Santa
      Anna approached New Washington.

      One of those that remained behind,
      however, was Emily West Morgan.

      Santa Anna ordered his camp set up on the
      plains of the San Jacinto despite protests
      from his colonels who insisted the location
      violated all principles of wartime strategy.

      Soon, General Sam Houston moved his troops into
      the woods within a mile of Santa Ana 's headquarters.

      By the afternoon of April 21, the great final battle
      for the independence of Texas was on and the
      Mexican army was caught completely by surprise.

      Emily West Morgan survived the battle and
      made her way back to New Washington

      Two days later, James Morgan, who had not
      heard of the battle, returned from Galveston
      and Emily told him of her ordeal and
      the outcome of the last great battle.

      The colonel was so impressed with Emily's
      heroism; he repealed her "indenture" status
      and also gave her passage back to New York .

      Morgan is said to have also made certain
      that everyone knew of Emily's heroism.

      He told everyone he encountered or anyone who
      would listen, and recorded the story in his journals.

      Morgan "kept a running commentary
      on Texas affairs with Samuel Swartwout,
      one of Houston 's friends in New York City ."

      He also told his story to an English friend
      and ethnologist, William Bollaert, who
      recorded the story in every detail.

      There are accounts from those who were
      there indicate she did what she could
      for the independence of Texas .

      Today, the heroic acts of the young woman
      Mixed-Race Lineage are still respectfully
      commemorated by the members of the
      Knights of the Yellow Rose of Texas
      each spring at San Jacinto .


      The term "Yellow" and / or `High Yella', in
      the 1800s, many times referred to people of
      Mixed-Race Lineage (and still does to this day)




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