Cactus Flower of the Prickly Pear Cacti.
Many people including a few Texans believe the Texas state song, The Yellow Rose of Texas, was inspired by the yellow catus flower. This is a false assumption. The following account is racially sensitive but in no way meant to be degrading or insulting to anyone. Some of this is based on documented facts and some is based on educated speculation. Emily D. West, A freeborn mulatto* girl from New Haven, Connecticut, was working as a servant for James Morgan who was in Galveston to command Fort Travis. The Texas Revolution was in full swing and on April 16, 1836 Emily was taken prisoner in a raid by General Antonio de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Libron's forces. Stories riddled with facts place Ms West in the tent of General Santa Anna located on the plain of Saint Hyacinth next to the Rio de San Jacinto(San Jacinto River) on the evening of April 21, 1836. In a setting of Champagne, chocolates, silver and crystal place settings and few clothes(documented fact) she sacrificed her honor to distract General Santa Anna while General Sam Houston's troops advanced to attack the camp. The rest is history as General Houston's forces defeated General Santa Anna's troops and Texas won it's independence. "High Yellow" was a term used at the time for a person of mixed African-American and Caucasian heritage. A member of the Texian army, known only as "H.B.C.", who was in love with Ms West later wrote the poem "The Yellow Rose of Texas". Speculation has it that he was black and from Tennessee. The poem read as follows:
There's a yellow rose in Texas
That I am going to see
No other darky knows her
No one only me
She cryed so when I left her
It like to broke my heart
And if I ever find her
We nevermore will part
She's the sweetest rose of color
This darky ever knew
Her eyes are bright as diamonds
They sparkle like the dew
You may talk about dearest May
and sing of Rosa Lee
But the yellow rose of Texas
Beats the belles of Tennessee
*Mulatto: A racially biased term used for persons of mixed African-American and Caucasian heritage during the 1800's.
By the American Civil War the words had found music but the lyrics had been changed to avoid references to African-Americans and by 1955 the lyrics again had been changed into the song it is today;
The Yellow Rose of Texas
There's a yellow rose in Texas, That I'm going to see,
Nobody else could miss her, Not half as much as me.
She cried so when I left her, It like to broke my heart,
And if I ever find her, We nevermore will part.
She's the sweetest little rosebud that Texas ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, They sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your Clementine, And sing of Rosalee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas is the only girl for me.
When the Rio Grande is flowing, The starry skies are bright,
She walks along the river in the quiet summer night:
I know that she remembers, When we parted long ago,
I promise to return 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 songs 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 forevermore.
Thank you Ms Emily D. West for your part in the fight for Texas independence.
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skellywag (887) 2007-04-29 11:12
Hi, a beautiful flower which you have captured well. The colours and detail are excellent. Interesting history too. Regards, Jean