The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family 1887-1906

The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family 1887-1906

The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family 1887-1906

The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family 1887-1906

Synopsis

In The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family, 1887-1906, Virginia Bernhard delves into the unpublished letters of one of Texas's most extraordinarily families and tells their story. In their own words, which are published here for the first time.

Rich in details, the more than four hundred letters in this volume begin in 1887 in 1906, following the family through the hurly-burly of Texas politics and the ups-and-downs of their own lives.

The letters illuminate the little-known private life of one of Texas's most famous families. Like all families, the Hoggs were far from perfect. Governor James Stephen Hogg (sometimes called "Stupendous" for his 6'3", 300-plus pound frame), who lived and breathed politics, did his best to balance his career with the needs of his wife and children. His frequent travels were hard on his wife and children. Wife Sallie's years of illness casted a pall over the household. Son Will and his father were not close. Sons Mike and Tom did poorly in school. Daughter Ima may have had a secret romance. Hogg's sister, "Aunt Fannie," was a domestic tyrant.

The letters in this volume, often poignant and amusing, are interspersed liberally with portions of Ima Hogg's personal memoir and informative commentary from historian Virginia Bernhard. They show the Hoggs as their world changed, as Texas and the nation left horse-and-buggy days and entered the twentieth century.

Excerpt

All that most people know about the Hogg family of Texas is that they had a daughter named Ima. But there is much more to their story. the Hoggs—the larger-than-life James Stephen (he stood six feet three inches and weighed nearly three hundred pounds), governor of Texas from 1890 to 1894; his petite wife, Sarah (Sallie) Stinson Hogg, who died tragically of tuberculosis in 1895; his children, Will, Ima, Mike, and Tom—were a picturesque and legendary family.

The Hoggs’ public history and their remarkable dedication to public service can be found in a handful of books, but their private history, for the most part, has remained as they left it—unpublished— in letters and a memoir that Ima Hogg was working on at the time of her death in 1975.

In many ways the Hogg family’s history reflects the larger history of families in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America. the Hoggs lived in a time when butter was churned by hand and babies were born at home. Most drinking water came from wells, and indoor plumbing was rare. Lamps burned kerosene, or “coal oil,” which was dangerously flammable. Bacteria were a newfangled notion, and the origins of diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, and tuberculosis were still mysterious. Children attended school only a few months a year, and universities were for an elite few. the Civil War and the end of slavery were fresh memories. Racial segregation was the norm, and the N-word was in common usage. People traveled by horse and buggy, and paved streets were few. General stores sold “dry goods,” flour came in cloth sacks, and lard in barrels. Readyto-wear clothing was a novelty, and people who could afford it had their clothes made by seamstresses and tailors—if they could not, they made their clothes at home. Most Texans lived in rural areas and made their living by farming, and many of those who had moved to . . .

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