🏅 2014 Catherine Munson Foster Award in Literature, Brazoria County Museum
In The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family, 1887–1906, Virginia Bernhard delves into the unpublished letters of one of Texas’s most extraordinarily families and tells their story.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.