if we’d had TV in the era of the Republic of Texas.
Imagine Edward R.
Tomorrow as a chain-smoking talk show host and pretend that he’s interviewing
Isaac N. Moreland.
Ed: (smoking) Good evening. Welcome to See
It Now and Then. Our guest tonight is Judge Isaac N. Moreland, an important
figure in the era of the Republic of Texas.
Isaac: (coughing) Thanks
for having me. Frankly, I’m surprised you picked me to interview because I’m not
really that important.
Ed: We think you are, Judge Moreland, and
that is one of the purposes of this show, to spotlight our unsung heroes who contributed
greatly to the progress of Texas but without much honor and recognition.
Isaac: (grinning) If you say so.
Ed: Where did you come
from and when did you arrive in Texas?
I’m from Georgia, moved to Texas in 1834, first lived
in Anahuac and then relocated
Didn’t you have a lot to do with writing the Anahuac Resolutions in May 1835,
protesting unjust taxation by customs officials?
Isaac: I can’t
take all the credit. Others who helped with the document were Andrew Janeway Yates
and Augustus Chapman Allen.
Ed: When did you stop writing and start
Isaac: Joined the Texas Army in October 1835 and fought
at the Siege at
Bexar in December that year. Afterward, Gen.
Sam Houston appointed me as captain of the First Regiment of Infantry and
ordered me to Harrisburg to set up a recruiting station.
posters pointing at prospects, exclaiming, “Uncle Sam Houston wants you!”
Wish I’d thought of that. Good slogan.
Ed: You fought at San
Isaac: Yep, worked those cannons called the Twin
Sisters. After the war, I was assigned to command Fort Travis at Galveston.
Stayed in the military until discharged in April 1837.
on May 29, 1837, you and David G. Burnet became law partners in Houston.
Isaac: Sure did and that’s when I moved to Houston.
(smoking again) I heard Burnet was a grumpy old man.
We got along fine. He was just set in his ways. It was either his way or the waterway.
Ed: When did you become chief justice of Harris County?
Isaac: In 1840 and later on that title of chief justice was changed to
Ed: I heard you told Sam
Houston a very interesting bit of gossip from the battle
of San Jacinto.
Isaac: Wasn’t gossip. It was the truth.
Isaac: Now I see why you wanted to interview me. You wanted
to talk about the Yellow
Rose of Texas, didn’t you.
Ed: Well, yes, I did want to pick
Isaac: Listen up. I told Sam
Houston that an indentured servant, Emily West, also known as Emily Morgan,
kept Santa Anna preoccupied in his tent when the Texans attacked at San Jacinto,
thus changing the course of history. That’s all.
Ed: That’s a lot.
Isaac: That’s all I know. Except I did help Emily
get a new passport to go back to New York in 1837. She’d lost her papers.
Ed: How did she lose them?
Isaac: You know how. She lost
’em at San
Jacinto when all hell was breaking loose. Wonder that girl didn’t get killed.
Did you ever have any idea that a Texas-size legend would grow out of her story?
Isaac: It’s true. It’s not just a story.
may I add, it’s also a song. (“Yellow
Rose of Texas” background music starts playing.) … Think we could ever get
Emily to come on our show?
Isaac: If you can find her. We never
heard from her again after she went back to New York.
you, Judge Moreland, for being with us tonight, and thank all of you for watching
See It Now and Then … Good night and good luck.
October 15, 2012 columns
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