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Ima Hogg

imahogg

(Image credit: Houston Museum of Fine Arts)

One of the more unique and recognizable names in Texas was Miss Ima Hogg.  Her father was James Stephen Hogg, the first native born governor of Texas, who served as governor from 1891 to 1895.  James and Sarah Ann Stinson Hogg had three sons and Imogene, their only daughter.  It is not known for certain who Imogene was named for, but the story is told that James had a brother named Thomas Elisha Hogg, a Confederate Captain, who had written a Civil War poem “The Fate of Marvin.”  The poem was about a Southern girl named Ima who had cared for a Union soldier.  There are some stories floating around that she had a sister named Ura, but according to published genealogy records, Ima was the only daughter of Jim Hogg and Sarah Stinson Hogg.

Jim Hogg’s father was General Joseph I. Hogg who had helped draft the 1845 Texas Constitution.  Both Jim’s father and mother, the former Lucanda McMath, died when he was young and he was raised by an aunt.  Jim started out in the newspaper business as a type setter for his local paper in Rusk and later published his own newspapers in Longview and Quitman from 1871 to 1873.  Some of the early causes he supported were to oppose the radical reconstruction of the South following the Civil War and more particularly to comment on the activities of state police force of the last reconstruction governor, Edmund J. Davis.  He also served as justice of the peace in Quitman from 1873 to 1875.  Jim also spent the two years studying law and was admitted to the Texas bar in 1875.  He made an unsuccessful run for the State Legislature in 1876, which was his only defeat in an election.

Jim was elected County Attorney in 1878 and then served as Disrict Attorney of Wood County from 1880 to 1884.  For the next several years, he practiced law in East Texas.  He publicly opposed the poll tax and was a proponent of allowing all adults to vote regardless of race or sex before amendments were passed to put both into law.  Ima was born July 10, 1882 in Mineola, Texas while Jim Hogg was serving as district attorney.

He served two terms as Governor of Texas, from 1891 to 1895.  While governor, Jim worked with the newly created Railroad Commission to monitor and oversee the development of railroads in Texas.  He helped counteract the policies of unscrupulous railroad operators having to do with excessive shipping rates being charged within the state, alleged manipulation of stock prices and he helped to guard citizens against unfair land practices of the railroad companies.  Hogg died in 1906 when he was only 56 years old.  About a year earlier, he had been injured in a railroad accident and never was completely healthy thereafter.  His wife, Sarah Ann, had predeceased him a decade earlier.  In 1913, Jim Hogg County in far south Texas was named for the late governor when it was created out of Duvall and Brooks counties.

Hogg left his estate to his family.  His daughter Ima became a well known and respected philanthropist.  She had studied music when she was young and wanted to become a concert pianist.  Although that dream was never realized, she retained her interest in music and was instrumental in the founding of the Houston Symphony Orchestra in 1913.  The new symphony played its first concert on June 21 of that year.  Ima had been treated for a nervous disorder while she was still relatively young, leading to her interest in mental health.  She founded the first child guidance clinic in the United States and the Hogg Mental Health Foundation, among her other activities.

She restored the first home of the Jim Hogg family, donating it to Jim Hogg State Park in Quitman, Texas and also donated another family home, the Varner Plantation, along with many historical documents to the state as part of the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site.  She was also known for her support for the preservation of Texas historical sites.

“Miss Ima” died at the age of 93 while on a trip to London, England to visit museums and enjoy concert performances.  She fell while exiting a taxi, breaking her hip, and died from complications of the fall.  Her remains were returned to Texas and she was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.  Ima never married and it is believed that the bulk of her estate, including her Houston home Bayou Bend, was given to charities, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Links:
Jim Hogg State Park
Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site
Bayou Bend Mansion

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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in history, texas, texas women

 

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The Goodnight Ranch

Goodnight is a name that calls to mind cattle drives from North Texas to Wyoming or Montana and also the start of ranching in the Panhandle.  Charles Foxwing Goodnight, Jr. was born in Illinois, not too far north of St. Louis, Missouri to farmers Charles and Charlotte Collier Goodnight in 1836.  His father died five years after this and his mother married Hiram Henry Daugherty, a farmer who lived nearby.  A few years later in 1845, the family headed for Texas, settling between what is now Milam County between College Station to the east and Austin to the west.  Charles did not receive much formal schooling and began working as a cowboy to help the family get by.  His first stepfather Daughterty also died not long after arriving in Texas.  His mother then married a minister by the name of Adam Sheek in 1853.  Goodnight and a step brother, John Wesley Sheek, began a ranching operation and around 1857 they relocated it further up the Brazos to what is now Palo Pinto County.  Once they got settled, they brought the family with them.

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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in history, ranch families, texas

 

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George Bernard Erath

george_bernard_ erath

(Image credit: Waco Tribune Herald)

George Bernard Erath was born in Vienna, Austria in 1813.  He was educated at Vienna Polytechnic Institute where he studied liberal arts.  Young Erath lived on his own and worked for a few years in Europe, eventually setting sail for America.  One of the reasons given for his departure was that he did not want to be drafted into service for the Austrian Army.  Whatever his justification for not wanting to serve in Austria, he would show no reluctance whatsoever to fight for the State of Texas.  In fact, he spent years doing just that.  He arrived in America in the summer of 1832 in New Orleans.  He then worked in Cincinnati, Ohio before returning to the South again in Florence, Alabama for a short time.  Erath then relocated to Texas in 1833 where he would remain for the rest of his life, entering at Brazoria on the Gulf and settling in Robertson County.

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H. Joaquin Jackson, Texas Ranger

joaquin_jackson

Jackson was a Texas Ranger during most of his law enforcement career, serving in the Uvalde area and later in Alpine.  He was born in 1935 and hired on with DPS briefly before becoming a Texas Ranger.  He served a total of 27 years with the Texas Rangers before retiring in 1993.

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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in biography, history, texas rangers

 

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Texas State Bison Herd

Evil Intentions

(Image credit: Defenders of Wildlife)

Estimates of 20 million to 30 million bison, literally a “sea of brown,” roamed the plains of the United States as late as the 1800s.  It was not uncommon for travelers to have to stop for hours and sometimes days as herds of the big animals crossed their route.  The native tribes freely hunted them, depending upon their meat for food, their hides for clothing, for a medium of exchange, and for their use in building their habitat.  In a few decades, the shaggy animals were almost hunted and slaughtered to extinction.  As the state began to be inhabited by European settlers, the bison population sharply declined.  It is accepted that one of the reasons the over-harvesting of bison was condoned was that it made the native tribes’ lives more difficult, no longer having a plentiful source of bison to live on.  The bison were no match for the hunters and the big animals were allowed to dwindle down to possibly as few as 1,000 survivors by about 1890.

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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in history, texas

 

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Dale Evans, born in Uvalde

daleevans_gettyimages

(Image credit: gettyimages.com, showing Dale Evans between the actor Jimmy Stewart and Dale’s husband Roy Rogers.)

Dale Evans was born Lucile Smith (later changed to Frances Octavia Smith) on October 31, 1912 in Uvalde, Texas to Walter Hillman Smith and Bettie Sue Coln, according to published genealogy records.  The family later moved to Osceola, Arkansas where she attended high school.  When she was 14, she eloped and married Thomas Frederick Fox with whom she had her first born son, Tom Fox, Jr.  The marriage ended shortly thereafter and two years later, she married August W. Johns.  In 1936, she married Robert Dale Butts, which relationship lasted about nine years.  She had no children from the latter two marriages.  In her early years, she struggled as a single parent and supported herself by working as a secretary, a singer and working in radio in Chicago, Memphis, Dallas and Louisville.  She was given the stage name of Dale Evans by a radio station manager who suggested it because it was easier to pronounce than Frances Octavia Smith.

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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in biography, history, texas, texas women

 

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Charley Willis, the singing cowboy

The 1940 Kingsport, Tennessee Kingsport Times headline read “For Carefree Fun, Sing Cowboy Ditties” and offered copes of Popular Cowboy Songs in exchange for ten cents in coin.  It led off with “Goodbye, Old Paint” and included several other songs of the era along with the guitar chords for each melody.

Kingsport_Times_Mon__Oct_7__1940_.jpg

(Image credit: Kinsgsport Times)

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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in biography, black history, history, texas

 

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