Scope and Contents
James Stephen Hogg letter transcriptions date from 1836-1906 and were copied from original manuscripts in the Texas State Library through the courtesy of the heirs of James S. Hogg. Family photographs date from circa 1890-1903 and include James S. Hogg, his parents, his wife Sallie Stinson, and various Hogg homes and friends. One photograph is an original; all others are copy prints, with no indictation of the location of the originals.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from the James Stephen Hogg letter transcriptions and family photographs must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
James Stephen Hogg, the first native governor of Texas, was born near Rusk on March 24, 1851, the son of Lucanda (McMath) and Joseph Lewis Hogg. His father, a brigadier general, died at the head of his command in 1862, and his mother died the following year. Hogg and two of his brothers were left with two older sisters to run the plantation. Hogg spent almost a year in 1866 near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, going to school, but soon returned to Texas to study with Peyton Irving and work as the typesetter in Andrew Jackson's newspaper office at Rusk. Between the years of 1871 and 1873, Hogg ran his own newspapers in Longview and Quitman. During the following years, Hogg would serve as justice of the peace for Quitman, study law and marry Sallie Stinson, who would give birth to four children.
From 1880 to 1884, Hogg served as district attorney for the old Seventh District, where he became known as the most aggressive and successful district attorney in the state. Despite a popular move for Hogg to go to Congress, he declined to run for public office in 1884 and entered private practice in Tyler. In 1886 his friends urged him to run for attorney general. His father's connections with the older political leaders made it easy for Hogg to be admitted to their councils, and he received the Democratic nomination and was elected.
As attorney general, Hogg encouraged new legislation to protect the public domain set aside for the school and institutional funds, and he instituted suits that finally returned over a million and a half acres to the state. He forced "wildcat" insurance companies to quit the state, helped to write the second state antitrust law in the nation, and advocated the establishment of the Railroad Commission, which would serve as his platform during his election to governor in 1890.
While governor, from 1891 to 1895, Hogg did much to strengthen public respect for law enforcement and championed five major pieces of legislation. The "Hogg Laws" included (1) the law establishing the Railroad Commission; (2) the railroad stock and bond law cutting down on watered stock; (3) the law forcing land corporations to sell off their holdings in fifteen years; (4) the Alien Land Law, which checked further grants to foreign corporations in an effort to get the land into the hands of citizen settlers; and (5) the act restricting the amount of indebtedness by bond issues that county and municipal groups could legally undertake. Hogg was ever solicitous for the welfare of the common schools, the University of Texas, and Texas A&M, and also succeeded in obtaining financial aid for a division of state archives. Without any real difficulty Hogg could have become a United States senator in 1896, but he was content to return to private practice.
After his wife died in 1895, he invited his older sister, Mrs. Martha Frances Davis, to come to his home to help rear his children. Though he was in debt when he relinquished the governor's chair to his attorney general, Charles A. Culberson, Hogg was able to build up a sizable family fortune by his law practice and wise investments in city property and oil lands. He successfully inculcated in his children a worthy interest in individual and public welfare as evidenced by numerous gifts to the University of Texas and various services to Texas as a whole, particularly to the cities of Houston and Austin. On March 3, 1906, Hogg died in the Houston home of his partner, Frank Jones, and was buried in Austin.
"HOGG, JAMES STEPHEN." The Handbook of Texas Online. <http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/HH/fho17.html> [Accessed Thu Jul 8 10:10:09 US/Central 2004 ].