Notes from the Edge of My Mind

Margaret McManis' blog

Finding Ima Hogg's travel journals was a historical goldmine.

Jun 222016

Last month I traveled to Austin for two reasons. First to continue my research on Ima Hogg and second to witness the Franklin Graham Decision America tour. Both were very successful adventures.

What I wanted to talk about today is the discovery of 18 of Ima Hogg's travel journals and the surprising facts that have given me even more information to fill in the blanks on my research to write about her travels around the world.

The first journal that interested me tremendously was the one where she writes of her adventures aboard the troop ship Arizona as it takes her and Governor Hogg to witness the annexation of Hawaii in 1898. After their arrival on Honolulu she and a friend named Kate are introduced to the king and queen of the island paradise. Later she writes on page 7 that 'if I could live any other place besides Texas, it would be Hawaii.'

I can only imagine how spectacular the island was one hundred fifty years ago when Ima viewed the tropical paradise and rode horses around the volcano.

My first MG historical novel in the 'Dear Texas' series is about Ima Hogg and her adventures with the famous Mollie Bailey circus. The family circus famous throughout the Southwest traveled to small Texas towns regaling country folks with their own brand of family entertainment. A few old timers in Montgomery even remember seeing the circus train coming down the tracks into town and Mollie Bailey welcoming citizens to her well appointed train car. Articles about her show appeared years ago in the Montgomery County News with details of her generosity and kindness to Civil War veterans and her adventures as a Civil War spy.

My second book in the series will follow Ima Hogg to Hawaii aboard the troop ship Arizona. The final book in the series about Ima will follow the plucky heroine all the way to Versailles to view the gardens where she will foil the plans of a couple of tulip thieves and begin to make plans for her own famous Bayou Bend Gardens in Houston.

The 'Dear Texas' series will include along with Ima Hogg, a series concerning the life of Birda Bailey, the daughter of Mollie Bailey and her many amazing circus adventures. The last Texas heroine in the series will be Cynthia Ann Parker, the mother of Quanah Parker.

I am hoping with this series young readers will come to understand that each of these young ladies had their own special brand of gumption and impacted our Texas heritage in a positive way.

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