The Yellow Rose of Texas
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The Yellow Rose of Texas

Emily Morgan The yellow rose of Texas

Picture it, it’s April 21, 1836 The Battle of San Jacinto (Which is now Harris County) is taken place.

General Sam Houston he is leading the army in the Texas revolution in one of the most decisive battles of the revolution against the Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, after his bloody assault on the Alamo mission, where after a thirteen day siege all but two of the Texan defenders were killed.

After news of the battle at the Alamo, Texans and other sympathizers joined forces led by James Bowie and William B Travis to drive the Mexicans back.

Meanwhile Santa Anna had met and was enamored by a curtain mixed race slave going by the name of Emily Morgan during the battle of battle of San Jacinto.

This small moment of love and lust was to become the birth of one of the many legends in American history.

The Mexicans retreated back to the Rio Grande

In the battle of San Jacinto 9 Texan soldiers die, this compared to around 700 Mexicans made it an easy and decisive victory, and to top it all another 700 were arrested all this took only eighteen minutes.

After the battle the Mexicans surrender and retreated back to the south and onto the Rio Grande.

Santa Anna the President of Mexico was held a prisoner of war, and three weeks after his arrest he signed the peace treaty and agreed to withdraw his troops from Texas, making way for the Republic of Texas to be recognized as an independent country.

Sam Houston became a nation hero, we all remember the cry “Remember the Alamo!" but how many remember Emily Morgan?actually her name was West but in those day slaves and servants would often take the name of their "master"

Could it be that Emily Morgan’s distraction also helped the victory?

Enter William Bollaert, he elaborated the story

Emily was a Puerto Rican, a mulatto which explains why she is referred to being Yellow in a diary written by an English tourist William Bollaert in the 1950s.

Emily it was told migrated from New York City to Texas in 1835 at the time she was just a teenager and quite a beauty, she became a servant on the plantation of James Morgan, and some say it was Morgan that sent Emily to Santa Anna as a ploy to keep his mind on other things.

Santa Anna was with Emily when Sam Houston troops began his attack and because of Santa Anna’s distraction it is said it helped Houston’s victory.

If we now zoom forward to 1984 a country music artist called Johnny Lee along with Lane Brody recorded a song called “The Yellow rose of Texas” the song was the theme to a TV series with the same name and became a number one country hit.

J.K was attributed as the author.

An unpublished version of this song can be found at the University of Texas, it is thought dates back to 1836.

The author is unknown but when published in 1858 by Firth, Pond and company it was attributed to J.K. also it is said after a few changes to the lyrics it was arranged by Charles H Brown.

The songs lyrics are changed once again and in a mini TV series “Texas” a version of the song was given to Gene Autry, it was then reworked once again by Don George who gave the song to Mitch Miller in 1955 his version knocked Bill Haley’s “Rock around the clock” off the number one place.

There's a yellow rose in Texas that I am going to see,

No other darkey knows her, no darkey only me;

She cried so when I left her, it like to broke my heart,

And if I ever find her we never more will part.


She's the sweetest rose of color this darkey 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.

Where the Rio Grande is flowing, and the starry skies are bright,

She walks along the river in the quiet summer night;

She thinks if I remember, when we parted long ago,

I promised to come back again, and not to leave her so.


Oh! Now I'm going to find her, for my heart is full of woe,

And we'll sing the song together, that we sung so long ago;

We'll play the banjo gaily, and we'll sing the songs of yore,

And the yellow rose of Texas shall be mine for evermore.

The song was also featured in the James Dean film “Giant”

I have to say my all time favorite version just has to be Stan Freberg’s

Emily (The yellow rose) joins a long list of folk Legends, including

Davy Crockett

Tom Dooley

Robin Hood

King Arthur

Dick Turpin

And Casanova

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Comments (4)

Very interesting. You may know I like American History very much. Thank you Johnny.

An excellent write indeed welldone johnny


Now what have you done? I can't stop singing Yellow rose of texas. I have seen the film The Alamo and I remember it very well

Great article today, Thank You:))

You learn something new every day! Loved the article. I'll have to get my Texan husband to sing this for me.