A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 13, 2006
San Jacinto Corn

Most of the corn of Texas can be traced to the corn acquired at the victorious Battle of San Jacinto (1836). The soldiers had wanted to call it Houston corn, but Sam Houston urged them to call it “San Jacinto corn.”


Making of America
Title: The life of Sam Houston. (The only authentic memoir of him ever published)
Author: Lester, C. Edwards supposed author.] (Charles Edwards), 1815-1890.
Publication Info: New-York,, Boston,: J. C. Derby;, Phillips, Sampson & Co., [c1855]
Collection: Making of America Books
Pg. 149:
The exhibition of the ear of corn stirred up all the enthusiasm of the Texan soldiers, and they gathered round their General, and asked him to allow them to divide the corn. “We’ll plant it,” said they, “and call it the Houston corn.” “Oh, yes, my (Pg. 150—ed.) brave fellows,” said the General, smiling, “take it along if you care anything about it, and divide it among you—give each one a kernel as far as it will go, and take it home to your own fields, where I hope you may long cultivate the arts of peace as nobly as you have shown yourselves masters of the art of war. You have achieved your independence—now see if you cannot make as good farmers as you have proved yourselves gallant soldiers. You may not call it Houston corn; but call it San Jacinto corn—for then it will remind you of your own bravery.” It is also said that in one of his dispatches that day to the people of the Sabine, the General said to those who had fled from their homes, “return and plant corn.” The soldiers distributed their corn, and it now waves over a thousand green fields in Texas.

Google Books
The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston
by Marquis James
Austin: University of Texas Press
1929
copyright renewed 1956
Sixth University of Texas printing, 2001

Pg. 256:
“My brave fellows,” he said scattering corn by the handful, “take this along with you to your own fields, where I hope you may long cultivate the arts of peace as you have shown yourselves masters of the art of war.”

Irresistible. “We’ll call it Houston corn!” they shouted.

“Not Houston corn,” their General said gravely, “But San Jacinto corn!”

And thousands of tasseled Texas acres to-day boast pedigrees that trace back to the San Jacinto ear. Three days after the corn incident, Houston had forgotten the name, however, and in his official report nearly wrote it the battle of Lynchburg. 

26 October 1902, Boston Daily Globe, pg. 36:
SAN JACINTO CORN.
Variety Made Popular in Texas by
Old Sam Houston.

“I added a new hero to my list while in Texas this summer,” said the sophomore who spent a vacation on a stock ranch in the Lone Star State. “It was Sam Houston, a ripping brave man at a time when men had to be brave and in countries where there were lots of them.”

“Didn’t you ever know of Sam Houston before?” asked his roommate, a southerner, in wonder.

“Of course I’ve heard of him in books, but you don’t really appreciate the man until you hear some of the oldtimers tell about him. They swear by Sam Houston in Texas. I first heard them speak of him one day when we were riding ‘cross country. We came to a field of particularly fine corn and asked the variety.

“‘That is San Jacinto corn,’ said the man who was riding with me. ‘And there is a story i nthe way it got its name.’

“It seems that the Texas army nearly starved to death on their chase after Santa Ana and his invading army. When the end came they were down to no rations at all. After Santa Ana’s army had been cut to pieces in the trap which the Americans had laid, and the Mexican leader was captured, old Houston strutted up and down in front of his tent.

“Finally he pulled an ear of corn out of the pocket of his coat and showed it to the scowling Mexican. ‘Sit,” he said, ‘do you ever expect to conquer men who fight for freedom, whose general can march four days with one ear of corn for rations?’

“The men heard and cheered and begged their leader for that ear of corn. He gave it to them, as plenty of rations had been captured with the Mexicans. The men divided its kernels and when they reached their homes planted them. That is why there is San Jacinto corn today from one end of Texas to the other.”—New York Tribune.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, October 13, 2006 • Permalink