Governor Hogg Pecan R.I.P.

Historical Period: 20th Century (1900 & Later)
Historical Topic: Pecan-Our State Tree, Politics & Politicians
Species: Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
County: Travis
Public Access: No longer applicable; tree is dead

On the evening of Texas Independence Day, March 2, 1906, Texas’ former Governor James Stephen Hogg and his daughter Ima were visiting in the home of his law partner, Frank Jones, of Houston. During their conversation, the Governor told Jones and his daughter that when he died he wanted no monument of stone, but “Let my children plant at the head of my grave a pecan tree and at my feet an old-fashioned walnut tree. And when these trees shall bear, let the pecans and the walnuts be given out among the plain people so that they may plant them and make Texas a land of trees.”

Late the next morning, Governor Hogg died quietly in his sleep. Shortly after his burial in Austin’s Oakwood Cemetery, the first of Governor Hogg’s wishes was carried out by the president of the State Horticultural Society, who planted two pecan trees at his head and a native black walnut at his feet. In later years, when the trees began to bear fruit, the Department of Horticulture at Texas A&M College (now Texas A&M University) gathered the nuts and distributed them to individuals, schools, and organizations throughout Texas.

The pecan had long been a popular tree in Texas, and in 1919 it was officially designated the state tree of Texas by an Act of the State Legislature. Its adoption is largely credited to the sentiments Governor Hogg expressed on the eve of his death.

In a special Arbor Day observance at Oakwood Cemetery sponsored by the Texas Forest Service and the Texas Forestry Association, in 1969, Hogg’s last wishes were perpetuated. The Russell pecan and the black walnut had died, and the trees were replaced with a Choctaw pecan and a Thomas black walnut. Miss Ima Hogg, the sole surviving member of the Governor’s family, assisted with the planting. The replacement trees were donated by the Texas Pecan Growers Association, which was founded by the Governor in 1906.

The Governor Hogg Pecan was located in Austin's Oakwood Cemetery at the foot of the Hogg family cemetery plot.