The Myth and Mystery of Emily Morgan Essay Contest Announced
The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, wants your opinion and is sponsoring a national essay contest about the hotel's namesake. The grand prize is a week's stay in a suite with all meals at the hotel and airfare for four from any major U.S. city.
The winning entry will present a persuasive essay on whether the story of "Emily," a mixed race woman who was said to have been in Santa Anna's tent at the commencement of the decisive battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 is true or not true.
According to Englishman William Bollaert's 1842 diary, the following information was obtained from an officer who was in the battle.
"The Battle of San Jacinto was probably lost to the Mexicans, owing to the influence of a Mulatta girl (Emily) belonging to Col. Morgan who was closeted in the tent with gen'l Santana at the time the cry was made 'the Enemy! They come! They come! + detained Santana so long, that order could not be restored readily again.'"
Since the publication of Bollaert's diary in the 1950s, historians assumed her name was Emily Morgan. However, a passport record found in the Texas State Archives indicates that this "Emily" was really named "Emily D. West," and that she was a free woman of color who lost her "free papers" at San Jacinto in April 1836.
An employment contract between Emily D. West and James Morgan, dated October 28, 1835, was discovered in a private collection in the 1990s. The contract indicates that she came from New Haven, Connecticut, and was employed to work for Morgan as a housekeeper for one year. The contract is part of the University of Texas at Arlington Special Collections.
The contest is open to U.S. citizens 21 years of age or older and the deadline to enter is January 31, 2006. For a complete copy of the rules, visit the "Ask Emily" section of the hotel website: www.emilymorganhotel.com.