Texas: The Hogg Family

I mentioned Ima Hogg. Randy Black explains that she was an admirable philanthropist: I am happy that you brought up the name Ima (Imogene) Hogg, philanthropist and patron of the arts, of Minneola, Texas (1882-1975). I mentioned Mineola and Quitman, Texas in the previous post. Quitman is the ancestral home of the Hogg family. Her father, Big Jim Hogg, served two terms as governor of Texas beginning in 1890.
Here is a brief overview of her interesting life: Ima, a lifelong Democrat, was named for the heroine of a Civil War poem written by her uncle Thomas Elisha and was affectionately known as Miss Ima for most of her long life. She was eight years old when her father was elected as the first native-born governor of Texas; she spent much of her early life in Austin. After her mother died of tuberculosis in 1895, Ima attended the Coronal Institute in San Marcos, and in 1899 she entered the University of Texas. By 1913, she had helped found the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In the meantime, oil had been struck on the Hogg property near West Columbia, Texas, and by the late 1920s Miss Ima was involved in a wide range of philanthropic projects. In 1929 she founded the Houston Child Guidance Center, an agency to provide therapy and counseling for disturbed children and their families. Miss Hogg also restored her parents' home at Quitman, Texas (I stopped by the place last week), and in 1969 the town of Quitman established the Ima Hogg Museum in her honor. In 1953 Governor Allan Shivers appointed her to the Texas State Historical Survey Committee (later the Texas Historical Commission), and in 1967 that body gave her an award for "meritorious service in historic preservation." In 1960 she served on a committee appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for the planning of the National Cultural Center (now Kennedy Center) in Washington, D.C. In 1962, at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy, she served on an advisory panel to aid in the search for historic furniture for the White House. She was also honored by the Garden Club of America (1959), the National Trust for Historic Preservation (1966), and the American Association for State and Local History (1969). The woman had a very interesting, very rewarding life and died in 1975. For more on Miss Ima Hogg: http://www.famoustexans.com/imahogg.htm

Her grandfather, Joseph Lewis Hogg, took the oath of allegiance to the Republic of Texas in 1839, helped write the Texas Constitution, fought in the Mexican War, and served as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Miss Hogg's father, Jim Hogg, was a self-educated man who became a newspaper editor and a district attorney. In 1901, while involved in the fledgling oil industry, Jim Hogg purchased the Varner Plantation near West Columbia, Texas. Confident that oil would be discovered there, he stipulated in his will that Varner could not be sold until 15 years after his death. In 1918 - 12 years after Jim Hogg died - oil was found on the property. Their newfound wealth allowed Miss Hogg and her brothers to give enormous cultural and charitable gifts to Houston, their adopted hometown.
 Source: http://www.fm.coe.uh.edu/comparisons/ima1a.html

The Ima Hogg Foundation continues to fund the education of students at the University of Texas and bequests from her fortune funded wings of the Houston Museum of Art. Contrary to popular rumor, Ima did not have a sister named "Ura" and such gossip upset her throughout her life. Aside from this, Ima never shirked from her given name and, when introducing herself, merely paused slightly between her first and last name.

RH: Do you know anyone called Imogene? I don't.  I searched in vain for the song mentioned by Randy, but I found all kinds of people with that name, notably Imogene Coca.

The posting on Ima Hogg said: "Contrary to popular rumor, Ima did not have a sister named "Ura" and such gossip upset her throughout her life". Robert Crow says; My mother lived in Texas for several years as a teenager in the 1920s.  She accepted the story of the twin sisters Ima and Ura Hogg and used it as an example of how horrid parents could be.  I confess that I have passed it on.  (Whom can a boy believe, if not his mother?)  I am happy to learn that Ima's given name was Imogene and now have a much better opinion of Big Jim.  RH; What parent would inflict on a daughter a name like Imogene?

I asked: What parent would inflict on a daughter a name like Imogene? Gene Franklin comments: Well, since I'm a Gene, I see nothing wrong with Imogene. RH; Gene actually is Gene, according to the Stanford Directory. I assumed it was an abbreviation for Eugene. This takes us to a difference between English first names, which are usually cut to one or two syllables, and Spanish first names, which are much more sonorous.

Jim Tent says: The family name Hogg includes some rather illustrious Britons, and presumably the Hogg Family in Texas are descended from them. Two current figures are the actor Ian Hogg, and also a distinguished historian of arms and equipment, Ian V. Hogg. RH: Indeed, There are 12 Hoggs in the British Who's Who. The well-known lawyer Quentin Hogg was at Christ Church when I was there, He is not in Who's Who, so he must have died. There are only two Hoggs in the much bigger Who's Who in America.

Adriana Pena says: As for the name Imogene, that is the name of the heroine of "Cymbeline" of  Shakespeare, a most appealing character. I can well imagine a theater-going parent giving that name to his daughter.  RH: Right. In early America, people read the Bible. Shakespeare and Milton. "Cymbeline" is based on the legend about that early British king  The theme is the misadventures of Imogene, who is finally reunited with her husband Postumus. Poor fellow, going around with a name like that.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: February 28, 2005