Rickey and I recently took a trip (as my grandfather would say) with Colten, our oldest grandson, and for some reason Ric brought the conversation to the Hoggs, a once upon a time Texas first family. Of course, you know the story he told of Ima and Ura Hogg, daughters of “Big Jim” Hogg, Texas Governor!
This morning when I opened my Pinterest account and the first thing I saw was the beautiful Ima Hogg looking at me from the pages of the virtual world, and I decided that she was depending on me to set the record a little straighter. After all, she did do her very best to downplay that awful last name as well as the joke that was her first name!
So just who was Ima Hogg, and did she really have a sister named Ura?
Born in 1882 to Sallie and Big Jim Hogg, Governor of Texas, Ima was the only girl in a family of brothers and yes, her parents should have been horse whipped for giving her the name Ima, which the beautiful woman did her best to downplay for the rest of her life…although she was certainly very close to the man who gave her the awful name.
James Stephen Hogg served only four years as the governor of the Lone Star State (1890-1894), but it was enough for him to be considered a giant of a man in Texas, both figuratively and physically. Big Jim stood well over six feet and almost 300 pounds, and he championed the “little people” of his state. Of course, that certainly could have been because Jim Hogg came from the little people as he worked his way from the poverty of East Texas to the Governor’s Mansion in Austin.
Ima was only 13 when her mother passed away, and she and her father became even closer as she grew up. She attended the University of Texas and then went on to study music in both New York City and abroad…no small feat for a woman of that day and time.
Big Jim continued in business and even though he did not live long enough to realize great wealth, the oil on the land left to his children eventually netted them a fortune with Ima using a big part of hers to benefit the people of Texas, establishing many centers and foundations designed to help others.
Ima Hogg, known as the First Lady of Texas, lived on until 1975 and became one of the most respected women in the Texas of the 20th century, especially in the world of art. She was a collector of fine art, and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts sports hundreds of donations from the woman who has been voted many, many times as having the worst name in the state.