Saturday, December 28, 2013

“The young lady’s name attracts attention...”

The “Ima” stories refused to go away. Imagine how Ima must have felt as she grew older.

         Gov. Hogg of Texas, who is visiting New York, is a man with a large sense of humor. He has two daughters, one of whom he named Ima Hogg and the other Ura Hogg. He wanted to name his son Bea Hogg, but his wife put a stop to that.
--The Penny Press [Minneapolis], July 7, 1894.

         Gov. Hogg, of Texas, who is making a tour of the Eastern States, is accompanied by his daughter. The young lady’s name attracts attention wherever she is introduced. It is certainly a queer combination and those who hear it for the first time usually refuse to believe that it is her real name.
         It is true, however, that Ima Hogg is the only name the lady has ever had. Her mother found the name Ima in a novel that she was reading when Miss Ima Hogg was a baby. She admired the name and so did her husband and it was given in baptism to the infant before the parents realized that the Christian and surname made a rather queer combination.
         “She is satisfied with it now,” says her father, dryly, “but she may possibly change it some day.”
--The Penny Press [Minneapolis], September 15, 1894.
         When the editor of a Chicago paper [The Chicago Record] wrote to Hogg asking about his children’s names, Ima’s father replied on November 12, 1896:
         “I beg to advise you that the names of my children are William, Ima, Mike and Tom—three boys and one girl—whose ages are, respectively, 21, 14, 11, and 9 years. . . . The names of Ura, Hesa, Shesa, Harry, and Moore Hogg are the mythical creatures of campaigners who failed to beat me for office.”

         Ex-Governor Hogg of Texas takes the trouble to write to a Chicago paper that he has no children named Ura, Hesa, and Sheesa, but admits that he has a daughter named Ima. This seems to give his whole case away, says the Atlanta Constitution.
-- Fayetteville [North Carolina] Observer, December 5, 1896.

But a legend had been born, and it refused to die.         

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What's in a name?

It is clear that Jim Hogg adored his only daughter. She and the rest of his family spent Christmas 1905 with him at Varner Plantation. That would be his last Christmas. It was not the last, however, of the gift he gave Ima: her name. She would live with it until her death in 1975.
         Why he named her Ima, even after all these years, is still not clear.
         Name stories abound. When J. S. Hogg was elected governor of Texas in 1890, newspapers all over the United States carried items about his children’s names. As we would say today, the name stories “went viral.” Here are some samples:

Texas ought to be proud of its governor, Hogg, whose two girls and boy have been named by himself, “Ima Hogg, Ura Hogg and Moore Hogg.”
--The Atchison [Kansas] Champion, April 24, 1891.

Governor Hogg of Texas named one of his daughters Ima Hogg. Her reproach to her father must be, “you’re another.”
--Daily Evening Bulletin [San Francisco] May 2, 1891.

Governor Hogg, of Texas, has three bright children, two girls and a boy, whose names respectively are said to be Ima Hogg, Ura Hogg and Moore Hogg. These names were bestowed by Governor Hogg himself.
--The Atchison [Kansas] Daily Globe, May 19, 1891.

And these were just the beginning.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

"We have killed hogs twice…."

Jim Hogg was never happier than when he was at Varner Plantation. In December 1905 he could hardly wait to celebrate Christmas there with his family. In anticipation, he wrote again to Ima:

For more than a week the weather has been frosty, clear and bracing. A stiff, fresh Norther is now blowing. We have killed hogs twice and I have never seen weather better for saving meat. So “you see” I am fixed just  suited. Each day I take plenty of exercise, either walking, talking or horse-back riding. I have “made friends” with Albarac, and go riding nearly every day. He is about as fine as ever. Sometimes I ride Dick, the large, black trap-horse, and he is an excellent saddler; but is too tall—so high that I must mount him from a log or stump, while I can mount Albarac like an eighteen-year-old from the ground. This makes me feel more like a horseman. We are locating the birds, squirrels, ducks and bear for the boys. They shall take you with them hunting and have a gay time. Since arriving here I have steadily improved, until now I begin to feel buoyant and hopeful that my full restoration to my former good health will come some of these days.
I guess, as I hope, you are having a very pleasant time. The attention and kindness shown you everywhere and especially in Austin where you are so well known, shed floods of light-of-pleasure into my heart. And you deserve it all. With your acquaintance and large circle of friends in Texas, won by your own exemplary character and excellent behavior, you have nothing to dread in the future; provided that you do not change radically in your disposition and habits.
With you or away from you I have every reason to be grateful to God for such a girl. One thing I do hope and that is you may go to church a little oftener.
Your father,
J. S. Hogg

Saturday, December 7, 2013

How about a turpentine massage before breakfast?

In December 1905 Jim Hogg, convalescing at Varner Plantation, was feeling better and looking forward to Christmas. He wrote to Ima:

My dear Ima,
I am continuing to improve under the skillful treatment of your Brother Will and our servant Richard Davis. The former gives me the medicine and “squirts” my throat, and the latter gives me alternate alcohol and turpentine massage scrubbing and baths before breakfast. Riding, walking and eating constitute my past-time and recreation. We have killed a lot of fat hogs, and you know I have never been willing to stand by and see the spare-ribs, back-bones, sausages, chitlings and sauce, spoil. Will looks as rosy red and saucy as a beer-soaked Dutchman! He is in his element here doctoring the “Old Man” and riding out among the stock—and writing “back-spelled” postal cards and cheap-material letters. Next in order of importance is your maid, Mary, who is willing as ever. Birdie is the same good cook and is taking good care of the smoke-house, and the chickens and turkeys. Mr. and Mrs. Owens are very nice and agreeable. They occupy the upstairs over the dining room and kitchen. Napoleon is as fine and beautiful as ever. He seemed disappointed when he found you did not come with me. The trap-horses and saddle horses are in excellent condition. The dogs are all in good condition and are ready for the “boys” next Christmas. . . .
We have plenty of hogs, sheep and beef, turkeys, geese and chickens, and milk and butter, and sweet and Irish potatoes, and turnips, radishes, etc., to do during the holidays and all the “boys” must have a big time when you come.
I am proud of the record I heard Mike is making and I hope you may help Tom on to the same point.
With love to everybody,
Affectionately your Pa,
J. S. Hogg