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  • Farm Years

    Truman at the Grandview FarmHarry Truman's years on the Grandview farm were formative. He gained strength and learned lessons that would prove valuable in the years to come. Most of all, he had time to think about Bess, about his work on the farm, and about his future.

    Plowing a Straight Furrow

    After working at Kansas City banks for several years, Harry felt obliged to leave his job in 1906 and return to the Grandview farm to help his family. As it turned out, the farm taught him many important lessons as he grew into manhood. He developed habits of hard work and careful planning. He learned to value common sense and the common man. Most of all, he spent a great deal of time thinking about his place in the world.

    "A riding plow gives one a chance to think of all the
    meanness he ever did and all he ever intends to do. I have
    memorized a whole book while plowing forty acres."

    "I've settled all the ills of mankind one way and another
    while riding along seeing that each animal pulled his part
    of the load."

    Work Mules adMissouri Mules

    Harry helped manage the farm. He worked with animals and learned how to rotate the crops. He struggled to manage the farmhands, who were more likely to listen to his father. Farming taught him that hard work alone did not guarantee success.

    "I became familiar with every sort of animal on the farm
    and watched the wheat harvest, the threshing and the corn shucking,
    mowing and stacking hay, and every evening at suppertime
    heard my father tell a dozen farm hands what to do and how to do it."

    Picnics in The Stafford

    Harry's farm years were tough times for him and his family. To make matters worse, being on the farm didn't help Harry's attempts to court Bess Wallace. She wasn't interested in marrying a farmer, and she lived in Independence, some ten miles away. To visit her, he had to take a long, difficult trip by train and streetcar. In 1913, Harry bought a used 1911 Stafford open touring car, which made the trip to Bess' house easier.