Jim Hogg had bought the old plantation in Brazoria County because he thought there was oil under it, but the land also fulfilled his lifelong dream of a country home. He lavished his new oil wealth on the house, the furniture, the gardens, the crops, the livestock. And he wanted his family around him to enjoy it all. To entice Ima to leave New York and come to Texas for a holiday in the country, Ima’s father enlisted her elder brother’s help. In late November 1902 Will wrote to her:
Prepare to become a comfortably rich woman. Your land at Columbia has healthy prospects of proving gusher territory. Drilling near there, adjoining your estate, is progressing rapidly and James Stephen “would not be surprised to see ‘em gush by Christmas.” Don’t begin to spend money on your prospects, just now.
We are expecting you at the “Varner” for Christmas week. The boys and I will try to make life tiresome for you. Father has his heart set on your coming, and you know when “Jym” is sot something is bound to give away. You will be permitted to shoot at a duck or two in the company of your three brothers, that is if you be good and proper-like. (Which reminds me to have Miles send your sidesaddle down there. Will write to him now.) Then too your business interests require your presence in the vicinity of the oil fields (to be) and I as you legal adviser and attorney in fact command you to leave at a proper time that you may lead the procession.
Father invited Vivian to join you there & she may do so.
The boys complain of no letter from you. You must write to them regularly. With much love and a few kisses
Ima Hogg, we know, was a skilled horsewoman. But shooting ducks? Who knew?