“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
La Porte in Harris County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Legend of Emily (Morgan) West

The Yellow Rose of Texas

The Legend of Emily (Morgan) West Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jim Evans, February 28, 2008
1. The Legend of Emily (Morgan) West Marker

Legend has it that Emily Morgan, Mulatto servant of Col. James Morgan, actually "won" the Battle of San Jacinto for Texas by catching Gen. Santa Anna's eye when he sacked and burned Morgan's Plantation on April 19, 1836. According to the legend, Santa Anna took Emily with him at the time and at the moment of the Texans' attack on the afternoon of April 21, 1836, she kept the Mexican general so occupied in his tent that he was unable to rally and command his troops to prevent defeat. Emily is supposedly also immortalized as the subject of the 19th century ballad "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

The first mention of Emily in any writing was by a William Bollaert in 1842, who wrote that he heard from an officer who had been at San Jacinto, that the battle was lost because of "the influence of a Mulatto girl (Emily) belonging to Colonel Morgan, who was closeted in the tent with General Santana..."

Emily D. West, a free black woman, was known to be at the San Jacinto Battlefield, but there is no verified record that places her in the tent of General Santa Anna. Historians point to the fact that eyewitnesses who had no reason
The Legend of Emily (Morgan) West Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jim Evans, February 28, 2008
2. The Legend of Emily (Morgan) West Marker
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to be sympathetic to Santa Anna made no mention of the supposed dalliance in the tent incident.

It is known that Emily West arrived in Texas with free papers in December of 1835 and that she was at Col. Morgan's plantation (New Washington) on April 16 when Col. Juan Almonte and company of Mexican dragoons arrived. She accompanied these troops to the plains of San Jacinto on April 20. She escaped during the battle on the next day but lost her free papers. After the death of Lorenzo de Zavala, vice-president of the provisional Texas government, Mrs. Zavala and Emily left Texas and returned to New York. There is no evidence she ever came back to Texas.
Erected by Beta Sigma Phi.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansWar, Texas IndependenceWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1836.
Location. 29° 40.349′ N, 95° 0.428′ W. Marker is in La Porte, Texas, in Harris County. Marker can be reached from North Wilson Road south of Easter Barbours Cut Boulevard, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1415 East Main Street, La Porte TX 77571, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Col. James Morgan (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); New Washington (about 300 feet
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away); John A. Grimes Memorial Park (about 300 feet away); Gribble-Hofheinz House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Governor Ross Sterling Mansion (approx. 0.7 miles away); Bay Ridge / Morgan's Point (approx. 0.7 miles away); Wade and Mamie Irvin House (approx. Ύ mile away); Five Points - The Hub of the City (approx. 0.9 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 6, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. This page has been viewed 304 times since then and 117 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 6, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide view photo of the marker and the surrounding area together in context. • Can you help?

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Jul. 4, 2022