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Harry S Truman-The Early Years

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Discuss Truman's early life, including early business, his army service and his political life up through his career in the Senate.

Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, MO. He was the son of John Anderson and Martha Ellen Young Truman. A family compromise between grandfathers middle names, Shipp and Solomon resulted giving him only the middle initial S. Sometimes he used a period (.), sometimes he didn't.

In his early childhood, he moved yearly from farm to farm. In 1890 the family moved to Independence, MO where they remained until 1902. After graduating from High School, Truman worked at several odd jobs until landing a position as a clerk at The Union National Bank. Eventually in 1906, Truman moved back to his grandmother's farm with his parents and took over running the family farm.

Truman had an interest in a zinc and lead mine in OklahomaÐ'--the venture failed with a loss of $2,000. He also invested in oil leases in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Truman and two partners had a well drilled on property in Eureka, Kansas, but Truman gave it up when he joined the Army. Had he stayed back and run the drilling company, he probably would have become a millionaire. Truman took an interest in the Masons and was appointed presiding overseer of a Masonic Lodge and was later elected the lodge Grand Master in 1940.

Harry Truman met Elizabeth Virginia (Bess) Wallace in Sunday school when they were both very young, but went through school, graduating together. The two were friendly all through school, although their friendship lapsed when Truman was living and working in Kansas City. When a plate had to be returned to Mrs. Wallace, Bess' mother, Truman returned the plate and started courting Bess. By early 1917 they were engaged.

When the US entered WWII, Truman was sent to Oklahoma as part of the National Guard. He and an advance contingent of the 129th Field Artillery Regiment sailed for France aboard the Ð''George Washington.' Shortly after arriving, Truman was promoted to the rank of Captain and was given command of Battery "D", the most unruly group in the regiment. Truman was forthright with the men and it was later recounted that the men Ð''idolized' their captain, referring to him as "Captain Harry" for the rest of their lives. After the war, Truman and an Army buddy, Ed Jacobson,



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