[TW for sexual assault and racism]
When I started reading this article on the “yellow rose of Texas,” I thought the first line (“Her name was Emily Morgan, and she was the sweetest little rosebud that Texas ever knew”) was intentionally over-wrought to segue into sarcasm and criticism. But nope! Did you know that once upon a time there was a beautiful young indentured servant named Emily Morgan, and her beauty was so overwhelming that Gen. Santa Ana was “smitten” with her and, according to the Texas Monthly, “Whether the attraction was mutual we do not know, but the mulatto girl quickly became one of the spoils of Santa Anna’s campaign”? Did you know that she was a true Texan, and “certainly appears to have done her part in keeping her abductor occupied” so that “While the concupiscent commander and the fetching servant girl occupied themselves within the tent, the Texans charged across the plain and set upon the idle Mexican camp with the force of a crushing wave”? And that while this Yellow Rose saved Texas, “We lose track of Emily Morgan shortly after her services to Texas were rendered. She never surfaced again, except of course in song.” How wonderful that her “services” were so helpful! How lovely that her beauty made her just irresistible to Santa Ana, so that he couldn’t help but rape her.
Oops, did I say “rape” and ruin the romance of this article?
As it turns out, the so-called “Yellow Rose of Texas” was actually named Emily West, not Emily Morgan. And it’s unclear whether she was in Santa Ana’s tent. If she was, it probably wasn’t by choice. But sure, way to go Stephan Harrigan and the Texas Monthly for not including the basic information I found via a five-minute google search, and for writing a nice nostalgic piece about the “services” provided to the state of Texas by a rape victim. You should be very proud.