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Our story starts in April 1836, a panicky time for the nascent Republic of Texas. The Alamo had actually fallen, the garrison at Goliad had been massacred, and the newly elected government remained in flight. Sam Houston, in command the a restive volunteer military heavily outnumbered by Santa Anna’s jug troops, to be busily conducting a mix strategic retreat and basic training program.
There live at that time, near a negotiation called brand-new Washington, at the mouth of the san Jacinto River, an indentured maid girl named Emily Morgan. She was, as Martha anne Turner writes in she seminal occupational The Yellow climbed of Texas: her Saga and also Her Song,a “comely mulatto . . . Exceptionally intelligent, as well as beautiful.” Emily to be a member that the family staff that James Morgan, a north Carolina merchant who had actually made his luck in Texas real estate and who, at the moment of Santa Anna’s approach, to be away commanding the rebel pressures on Galveston.
The army that Santa Anna led across the plains of Texas to be a formidable force, however it walk not relocate with lightning speed. It was burdened with its commander’s three-room carpeted tent, his minus cabinet, his champagne supply, and—since the sacking of Harrisburg—a piano. Santa Anna, that hardly demands to it is in said, was no shy around his biology comforts in the field. When his eye dropped upon Emily Morgan, the generalissimo to be smitten. Even if it is the attraction was common we do not know, yet the mulatto girl quickly came to be one that the spoils the Santa Anna’s campaign.
Turner invites united state to think that Emily stayed a staunch Texan if under Santa Anna’s sway. She certainly appears to have done her part in maintaining her abductor occupied. Why, historians ask, did Santa Anna select an untenable encampment ~ above the levels of san Jacinto, v the Texan military in prior of him and a bayou prohibiting his retreat? Why, on the afternoon that April 21, as soon as he knew that Houston’s forces were only fifty percent a mile away, was his army taking a siesta? The price resounds through the ages: Santa Anna was in a hurry to obtain into the sack through Emily Morgan.
While the concupiscent commander and also the fetching maid girl populated themselves within the tent, the Texans charged across the level and collection upon the idle mexico camp v the pressure of a crushing wave. The fight was over in eighteen minutes. Santa Anna slipped away, fifty percent dressed, clutching a crate of chocolates. That was discovered the next day, ignominiously disguised together a exclusive of his very own army. We shed track of Emily Morgan shortly after her solutions to Texas to be rendered. She never surfaced again, other than of food in song.
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The more quickly extant version of “The Yellow increased of Texas” resides in the Barker Texas history Library in ~ the college of Texas—a brittle, faded holograph, bearing only the initials that its presumed author, H.B.C. The song is a tribute to “the sweetest rose of shade this darky ever knew.” with time the gyeongju overtones the the song were leached away, and also by the moment Mitch Miller encode the current version, in 1955, the tune was an all-purpose Texas anthem, an ideal for usage in Ralph Yarborough’s Senate campaign and Butter Krust bread commercials. (“It’s Butter Krust bread of Texas,” walk this thumping travesty, “enriched through qual-i-teee.”)
But there are people roughly to watch that Emily Morgan is no forgotten. Over there exists in this country a semivenerable, semi-secret company whose members know one one more by the tiny yellow roses pinned to their lapels. They space the young of the Knights that the Yellow climbed of Texas, and in their hushed councils the name of the true first lady the Texas is preserved alive. Members that SKYRT keep that it is possible to visit the mountain Jacinto battlefield at night and also see among the moss-draped oaks and also the commemorative markers—not one of which bears she name—the ghost the Emily Morgan. Similar to in the song, she “walks follow me the river in the quiet summer night.” If you need to encounter she in this fashion, a basic thank-you will certainly suffice.