Truman Family Farm
Twenty-two-year-old Harry Truman gave up his $100 a month bank salary to go work on the family farm in 1906. The farmhouse, with no plumbing or electricity, stood in stark contrast to the bright lights of Kansas City. On the farm, Harry had little privacy, sharing the seven-room house with his grandmother, parents, sister and brother.
Harry slept in a room above the dining area with brother Vivian and the hired hands. The bedroom was like an oven in the summer and an icebox in the winter. "It was an awful task to arise this morning in that ten-degree room," he wrote in 1914.
Harry's day began when his father called from the foot of the stairs. Before the smell of frying bacon filled the house, Harry was up feeding livestock and milking cows. Then, he came in to help Mamma and Mary Jane cook. According to one farm hand, Harry could "stir up as good a batch of biscuits as any woman."
After breakfast, Harry usually put in a long day of physically demanding work. In the evenings, the family gathered in the sitting room to read and talk. In the parlor, Harry, Mary Jane, or Mamma played the piano, while John added his mellow voice to sing-a-longs.
During Harry's eleven years on the farm, he worked hard, planned for the future, and confronted each challenge with calm determination. His demanding father expected Harry to do his best - whether it was planning straight corn rows or stacking hay. After his father's death in 1914, Harry assumed responsibility for the farm's success or failure.
To learn more about the Truman Farm Home, click on the links below to read the site bulletin and take a photo tour of the home's interior.
Did You Know?
Harry Truman was never a man given to excess. He wrote to Bess, “An ideal condition would be to have to work just enough so if you stopped you’d not go busted at once – but still you’d know if you didn’t work you couldn’t live.”