Texas Originals

James Stephen Hogg

March 24, 1851–March 3, 1906

The governorship of James Stephen Hogg, from 1891 to 1895, has been a benchmark for Texas governors ever since. Hogg was born in 1851 and grew up near Rusk. As a young man, he worked as a typesetter in a newspaper office and later published newspapers in East Texas while studying for a law degree.

Hogg's political career began when he was elected Wood County attorney. He also served as a district attorney and as Texas attorney general.

In 1890, Hogg became the state's first native-born governor. Six-foot-two and nearly three hundred pounds, "Big Jim," as he was known, vigorously fought for the interests of the common citizen. At the forefront of the Progressive reform movement in Texas, Hogg opposed abuses by insurance companies, railroad monopolies, and land corporations.

He helped establish the powerful Texas Railroad Commission, the oldest regulatory agency in the state. He was a champion of public schools, state universities, and teacher education. During his second term, Hogg urged the Texas legislature to pass an anti-lynching law, which it finally did in 1897.

Hogg continued to work for progressive reform after leaving office. In a 1903 speech, three years before his death, he exhorted his audience, "Let us have Texas, the empire state, governed by the people; not Texas, the truck-patch, ruled by corporate lobbyists."

For More about James Stephen Hogg

The Governor Hogg Shrine Historic Site is located in Quitman, Texas. The Jim Hogg Historic Site is Rusk, Texas.

The James Stephen Hogg Papers, 1836–1969, are held by the Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin. The collection includes speeches, proclamations, and letters of James Stephen Hogg, which are cataloged individually in the online catalog of The University of Texas at Austin libraries.

Records of Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg, 1889–1894, are held by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. These include correspondence, proclamations, and transcripts from Hogg's terms as governor of Texas.

Humanities Texas has also produced a Texas Originals episode on James Stephen Hogg's daughter, noted arts patron and philanthropist Ima Hogg.

Selected Bibliography

Barr, Alwyn. Reconstruction to Reform: Texas Politics, 1876–1906. 2nd ed. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2000.

Bernhard, Virginia. The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family, 1887–1906. Denton: Texas State Historical Association, 2013.

Cotner, Robert C., "Hogg, James Stephen." Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 1, 2013.

Cotner, Robert C. James Stephen Hogg: A Biography. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1959.

Frantz, Joe B. Texas: A History. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1984.

Hart, James P. "What James Stephen Hogg Means to Texas: An Address." Southwestern Historical Quarterly 55, no. 4 (1951): 439–447.

Hendrickson, Kenneth E. Jr. Chief Executives of Texas: From Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1995.

Raines, C. W., ed. "Speeches and State Papers of James Stephen Hogg, Ex-Governor of Texas: With a Sketch of his Life." Austin: The State Printing Company, 1905.

Wakefield, Paul Louis. James Stephen Hogg: A Biography, 1851–1906. Austin: Texas Heritage Foundation, 1951.

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Portrait of James Stephen Hogg. Courtesy The State Preservation Board, Austin, Texas.
Governor James Hogg (right) with (from left to right) Francis R. Lubbock, former governor and state treasurer; John H. Reagan, former chairman of the Railroad Commission; A. W. Terrell, former legislator, ambassador, and regent of The University of Texas. Austin, Texas, c. 1905 or before. Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission.