Welcome to The Yellow Rose!
"The Yellow Rose of Texas" is a traditional folk song which has long been popular in the United States and is considered an unofficial state song of Texas. The actual author is unknown; the original publisher (Firth, Pond & Co.) only stated that it was composed and arranged expressly for Charles H. Brown by "J.K." The A. Henry Moss Papers in the Center for American History has an unpublished early handwritten version of what may be a similar song, perhaps dating from the time of the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.
Briefly stated, 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 Anna's opponent was General Sam Houston, who won the battle literally in minutes, and with almost no casualties.