Jim Hogg’s health seemed to be health seemed to be improving, but Ima and Will convinced him that in the near future he should visit the famous Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. Its founders were Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, Will Keith Kellogg. They also founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, turning out the first batch of a historic cereal in 1906.
In early March of that year, Jim Hogg, who declared he was feeling much better, agreed to set out for Battle Creek. With Ima and Will, he left his beloved Varner Plantation and boarded the train to Houston, stopping to spend the night at the home of Frank Jones, his law partner. The Joneses lived in a handsome mansion at 2116 Travis, and the guests spent a pleasant evening on March 2. Hogg was his usual jovial self. He happened to remark that when he died he wanted no monuments at his grave, but a pecan tree and a walnut tree, with the nuts given to the “plain people” of Texas. Ima scolded him for talking of his death, but he assured her that he would be around for “many years.”
He died that night. On the morning of March 3, 1906, twenty-one days before his fifty-fifth birthday, James Stephen Hogg was found dead in his bed at the Jones residence. He had died of a heart attack in his sleep. It was Ima who found him. At age thirteen, she had watched her mother die. Now, at age twenty-three, she found her father dead.
As the Houston Chronicle reported, Ima was “stricken by the burden of her grief” and was “under the care of a physician.”
Seldom had the bonds between a father and a daughter been so close.
Note: Bayou Bend, Ima Hogg’s home for many years, is among the highlights on Houston’s Azalea Trail, March 7-9 this year. Worth a visit.