Hogg, Thomas Elisha (1842–1880)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

Thomas Elisha Hogg [pseud. Tom R. Burnett], lawyer, editor, and writer, son of Lucanda (McMath) and Joseph Lewis Hogg, was born in Cherokee County, Texas, on June 19, 1842, and raised on his parents' plantation, Mountain Home, just outside of Rusk. His childhood interest in literature resulted in his ambition to become a writer. His first publications were stories and short articles that appeared in a Rusk newspaper. The Civil War, however, interrupted his writing career and ended his education, which had begun at Weatherford College in 1860. In May 1861, at the age of nineteen, he enlisted in the Confederate Army; he served under Gen. Benjamin McCulloch in northern Arkansas and was transferred to a unit under his father's command the following year; he saw his father fall ill and die during preparations for the defense of Corinth. This experience moved Hogg to write two poems and a novel about the battle. "The Last Stand at Corinth" described the fighting of the Third Texas Cavalry and the death of Maj. J. J. Barker, who had courted Hogg's sister Martha. "The Soldier's Grave," written in 1866, was Hogg's emotional response to news of the desecration of his father's grave near the battlefield. That same year Fate of Marvin and Other Poems appeared. The title poem is notable for its candid account of the war and sympathetic treatment of both Union and Confederate soldiers.

After the war Hogg taught school briefly in Duck Hill, Mississippi, where he renewed his acquaintance with his cousin, Anna Eliza McMath. In 1866 they married and settled at Mountain Home, where Hogg became legal guardian to his two younger brothers. Income from his father's farm declined sharply after the war, forcing Hogg to open a school in Rusk to provide for his family. During this time his relationship with his younger brother, James Stephen Hogg, resembled a father-son attachment, as the future governor of Texas requested his older brother's advice on matters ranging from politics to money. While teaching school, Hogg studied law; he began his legal career in 1871 as a justice of the peace in Rusk and in 1873 was admitted to the bar.

Hogg resented the Radical Republican domination of East Texas communities, especially the party's subsidizing of neighboring small-town newspapers. In an attempt to publicize Democratic views and, ultimately, to end Republican rule, Hogg, with Frank Templeton, a friend he met during the war, purchased the Rusk Cherokee Advertiser in 1871. This paper, a former radical publication, abruptly became a Democratic organ. Two years later Hogg continued his newspaper career in Denton, where he now practiced law. He was editor of the Denton Review, the city's first weekly paper and, like the Advertiser, a supporter of the Democratic party. Hogg was active in both Rusk and Denton in civic and political affairs. He served as a Presbyterian elder and became city attorney and county judge. While judge, he participated in a futile attempt to capture the outlaw Sam Bass. In 1878 this experience resulted in his last published work, The Authentic Account of Sam Bass and His Gang. Two years later Hogg contracted typhoid fever and, at the age of thirty-eight, died, on September 27 or 29, 1880.

C. A. Bridges, History of Denton, Texas, from Its Beginning to 1960 (Waco: Texian Press, 1978). Robert C. Cotner, James Stephen Hogg: A Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1959). Dallas Times Herald, February 23, 1878. Denton Record-Chronicle, August 2, 1953. Hattie Joplin Roach, A History of Cherokee County (Dallas: Southwest, 1934).
  • Education
  • Educators
  • General Education
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Poets

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Minor, “Hogg, Thomas Elisha,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hogg-thomas-elisha.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995