Tune of the Day: The Yellow Rose of Texas
“The Yellow Rose of Texas” has long been popular in the United States and is considered the unofficial state song of Texas. The actual author is unknown; the original publisher only stated that it was composed and arranged expressly for Charles H. Brown by “J.K.”
The tune became a popular Confederate marching song during the Civil War and with the U.S. Cavalry on western outposts and along the cattle trails following the Civil War.
The song is based on a Texas legend from the days of the Texas War of Independence. According to the legend, a free African American woman named Emily D. West, a mulatto and hence the reference to “yellow”, seized by Mexican forces during the looting of Galveston, seduced General Antonio López de Santa Ana, President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican forces. The legend credits her supposed seduction with lowering the guard of the Mexican army and facilitating the Texan victory in the battle of San Jacinto waged in 1836 near present-day Houston. Santa Ana's opponent was General Sam Houston, who won the battle literally in minutes, and with almost no casualties.