Saturday, December 29, 2012

(30) Texas

Capitol: Austin

Hallelujah!!!! I finally finished Texas!! WAHOOOO!!!! Texas has been taunting me since the beginning of this project.

First problem... size. With so many of the Northeast states, this scale proved to be too small. Not the problem with Texas. It is 4 1/4" x 4 1/4"!!! That's not a pin, it's a breastplate!!!

Second problem, Texas. Not a big fan. Early in my marriage (like the week after our honeymoon!) I had to spend a month in Dallas for IBM Marketing Training. Didn't like either Dallas or the training. Had to do this a few more times before the torture was over. While I started with a negative impression of Texas, it has improved a little. I have an uncle and cousin in Houston, and enjoyed my visit with them years ago. I also have in-laws and good friends in Austin. I thoroughly enjoy Austin.

Once I got past my hard feelings for Texas, I really struggled with the design. When I first started this project I was going to use several types of media, not just bead embroidery. I had planned on cutting Texas out of metal, then riveting little stars all over it, so it wouldn't be the Lone Star State any more. Still may do this someday, makes me giggle.

Everyone suggested cowboy themed ideas... boots, hats, cattle, etc. Wasn't interested. Then, for some reason the song "The Yellow Rose of Texas" popped into my head. Off to Google. From Wikipedia:

Legendary account: The song is based on a Texas legend from the days of the Texas War of Independence. According to the legend, Emily D. West (also known as "Emily Morgan") was seized by Mexican forces during the looting of Galveston. She seduced General Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican forces. The legend credits her supposed seduction of Santa Anna 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. West was a mulatto, of mixed race ancestry. The song refers to her as the "yellow" rose, in keeping with the historical use of term "high yellow" as a description of light skin among people of color in the South.

Historical account: Historians assert that if West was with Santa Anna, it was not by her choice, nor did she play any part in deciding the battle. The seduction legend was largely unknown until the publication in the 1950s of a version of the lyrics based on William Bollaert's account. Bollaert, a British subject, spent two years in Texas—1842 to 1844—and was a prolific writer, publishing more than 80 articles on various subjects.

The basic facts are that Emily West, a free person of color, migrated to Texas from New York City in late 1835 as an indentured servant under contract to the agent James Morgan. She was born free in New Haven, Connecticut. Sources describe her as a teen or as a woman of twenty. She was to work as a housekeeper at the New Washington Association's hotel, near what was then called New Washington and is now Morgan's Point. Historians say she became known by West's surname, as was the custom at the time for indentured servants and slaves.

Santa Anna reportedly saw West in April 1836 when he invaded New Washington prior to the Battle of San Jacinto. West and other black servants were taken to his camp, along with some white residents who were captured. According to legend, Santa Anna was with her when Texan General Sam Houston's troops arrived, forcing him to flee suddenly without weapons or armor and enabling his capture the next day.

Works for me.

The background took awhile too. I was going to do it red, because it looks pretty. My spouse wanted white. Daughter - pink... nope. Son - red... (because he is smart!). So, I decided to use all three, and place the rose on the Texan flag. I have never been so happy to finish a pin!

Lyrics(Original version, from the MS in the University of Texas archives):

There's a yellow rose in Texas, that I am going to see,
No other darky [sic] knows her, no darky only me
She cryed [sic] 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 your Dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
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 quite [sic] summer night:
She thinks if I remember, when we parted long ago,
I promised to come back again, and not to leave her so. [Chorus]

Oh now I'm going to find her, for my heart is full of woe,
And we'll sing the songs togeather [sic], that we sung so long ago
We'll play the bango gaily, and we'll sing the songs of yore,
And the Yellow Rose of Texas shall be mine forevermore. [Chorus]

More than 25 years later, the lyrics were changed to eliminate the more racially charged lyrics. "Soldier" replaced "darky." And the first line of the chorus was also changed to read, "She's the sweetest little rosebud ...."

Sometimes "Dearest May" has been replaced by "Clementine".

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