The Yellow Rose of Texas

        James Morgan, a businessman from Philadelphia decided to go to Texas and take advantage of the cheap land opportunities that existed in 1830. He wanted to take his 16 slaves with him but the Mexican laws that ruled Texas prohibited slavery so he freed them with the agreement they would sign an indenture upon themselves to become servants for ninety-nine years. The slaves agreed because they felt it was better to be an indentured servant rather than a slave.
        In 1835, Morgan went to New York to recruit more workers for his settlement called New Washington. There was one twenty year old Emily West, a beautiful woman who by some records was part white (Mulatto or Yellow). She volunteered to be indentured and because of the custom, she changed her name to Morgan.
        The settlement of New Washington was located near the mouth of the San Jacinto River and the part of Morganís land that extended into San Jacinto Bay was and still is called Morganís Point and is where this writer lived her childhood days.
        The people of Texas become dissatisfied with the Mexican rule and during the winter of 1835-1836, they decided to sever their relations with Mexico. James Morgan freely gave cattle, oranges, and assorted grains to Sam Houston and his army. Flatboats were loaded with supplies and shipped up Buffalo Bayou to Harrisburg (Houston) where Houstonís supply station was located.
        In February 1836, the Alamo was defeated by the Mexican army of about 5,000 soldiers under the leadership of General Antonio Lôpez de Santa Anna. Upon the defeat of the Alamo, General Sam Houston gathered his forces of 910 men and retreated eastward, pursued by Santa Anna and his army of 1,200 men.
        Because of his generosity, Morgan was appointed a Colonel in the Texas Army . In March 1836, his assignment took him to the Port of Galveston so in order to continue his shipping of supplies to Housonís army, Morgan left Emily in charge of the loading of the flatboats destined for the Texas Army.
        On the afternoon of April 18th, General Santa Anna passed through the New Washington which had become almost deserted. Upon seeing Emily, he was smittened by her beauty. He could not get Emily out of his mind so he settled his troops nearby on the San Jacinto plains despite the protests of his colonels who said the location was not a good location. The next morning, after his men had taken the crops and cattle, Santa Anna being somewhat of a ladyís man, ordered that Emily be brought to him. She was captured along with a boy by the name of Turner who was loading a flatboat with supplies.
        Santa Anna persuaded Turner to lead his scouts to Sam Houstonís camp but before they left, Emily convinced Turner that he should escape from Santa Annaís scouts and get word to Sam Houston of where the Mexicanís camp was located. Upon hearing of Santa Annaís location, Sam Houston moved his troops into the woods nearby the headquarters of the Mexican Army. He climbed a tree where he had a perfect view and from there, he could see Emily preparing a champagne breakfast for Santa Anna. Houston was reported as saying, ďI hope that slave girl makes him neglect his business and keeps him in bed all day.Ē
        It was on that day April 21, 1836 that Houstonís army made a surprise attack on the Mexican camp and yes, indeed caught Santa Anna with his pants down! The attack lasted just 18 minutes and nearly every man in the Mexican army was killed or captured and Santa Anna became a prisoner and made to sign a treaty giving Texas Independence. The Texans lost 9 men and had 30 wounded men while General Houston sustained a shot in the ankle.
        Emily, surviving the battle, went back to he duties at New Washington. James Morgan returned from Galveston and heard of Emilyís bravery and help in the winning of the battle. He was so awed by her courage that he repealed her indenture and gave her passage back to New York.

Emily West Documents

Emily West Morgan was the inspiration for the following song:

"The Yellow Rose Of Texas"

There's a Yellow Rose in Texas
That I am going home to see.
Thereís no one else who knows her
As quite as well as me.
She cried so when I left her
It like to broke my heart,
And if I ever more find her
We never more will part.


She's the sweetest little rose bud
That Texas ever knew.
Her eyes are bright as diamonds.
They sparkle like the dew.
You may talk about your Clementine
And sing of Rosa Lee;
But, the Yellow Rose of Texas
Is the only Rose for me.

Where the Rio Grande is flowing,
And the starry skies are bright.
She walks along the river
In the quiet summer night.
She thinks I don't remember
When we parted long ago
I promised to come back again
And not to leave her so.


Oh now Iím going to find her
For my heart is full of woe,
And we will sing the song together
We sang so long ago.
We will play the banjo gaily
And will sing the song of yore,
And the Yellow Rose of Texas
Shall be mine forevermore.


midi is playing
 "The Yellow Rose of Texas" 
acquired through public domain