Emmaline Henderson

d. 2001
Role: Cowhand Family
Nicknames: Sambo, Sis
Maiden name: Youngblood

Emmaline was born somewhere in Victoria County. She was delivered by a midwife and the records were never filed, so she doesn’t know her birth date or even birth year. Her mother, Linda Youngblood, died when Emma was about two years old. She was raised by her uncle and his wife in Lewis' Bend, the black freedman's community on the banks of the San Antonio River. She's a Youngblood - her father was Jackson Youngblood. She's also a Terrell, and along with the Youngblood's, make up cowhand family royalty in the Texas Coastal Bend. Her brother, Duke Youngblood, worked on the O'Connor Melon Ranch. Together with her husband Mose Henderson, cook on the ranches, Emma lived on the Welder Vidaurri ranch much of her life. She has fond memories of Lewis' Bend, church had a strong influence on her as it did on many of those who grew up there. The community in Lewis' Bend was very supportive, she laments the social changes, feeling "The old people taught you the right way - and you should never depart from it". Her Aunties are all gone now, Laura Hopkins, Ellen Terrell, Aunt Beck Green, Babe Lott, Fannie Collis, these women filled an important part in the lives of young girls within the black culture providing guidance and advice, particularly true for the children of cowhands who "didn’t know who their daddies were - they were gone so much". Emmaline was a true character, always ready to tell the true story of any situation.

Introduction to Emma Henderson

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Emma Henderson
Emmaline Youngblood – I was born down on that prairie somewheres. My mother died when I was about two years old and, uh, my father's brother and his wife raised me in Lewis' Bend. Lewis' Bend is right. That place used to be a real lively place in my lifetime. Oh, they had school down there, they had church down there, and they had what you call baptism in the…. baptize you in them days in the river. Some of 'em. That's where I was baptized in the river.

Alice Cook - And dances down there…

Emmaline Youngblood - Dances…sure.

Nancy O'Connor - What were the people like down there?

Emmaline Youngblood – Good, good, good. It wasn't nothin' like they are today. Nothin' like they are today. Tell ya that right now.