Courtesy of Independence Tourism
Harry Truman grandmother
President Truman's paternal great-great-grandmother Nancy Tyler Jones
Tracing the Trumans: An American Story
Like all of us, Harry and Bess Truman were influenced by the families of their birth who, in turn, had been shaped by still earlier ancestors. “Tracing the Trumans: An American Story” explores these ancestors—the Trumans, Wallaces, Youngs, Gates, and Willocks—who came to Missouri, like so many others, looking for opportunity and the promise of a better life. They were not planning to give birth to a president, but simply to give birth to their dreams. Like our own families, sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they failed. In the process, they influenced Independence and Independence influenced them. This is the story of those families and, perhaps, the story of your family too.
The themes of “Tracing the Trumans” are developed in three main sections: “Multiple Branches of One Family Tree,” “Sinking Local Roots,” and “Branching Out Into the World.” The themes are illustrated with original historical materials–artifacts, documents, letters, books, photographs, and other memorabilia–many of which have never before been on display. In addition, the show features video programs and a series of hands-on educational activities for visitors.
Most of the objects in this exhibition are drawn from the collections of the Harry S. Truman Library, the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, and the Jackson County Historical Society. For example, just a few of the dozens of items you will see include:
- A horse-drawn buggy from the Truman family farm in Grandview
- The 1883 wedding dress of Madge Gates, Bess Truman’s mother
- Margaret Truman’s pedal car, one of several 1926 Christmas presents
- A 1/12 scale model of Truman/Wallace home at 219 North Delaware Street
- A coupling chain designed and used by Harry Truman’s grandfather on the Oregon Trail
- Martha Ellen (“Mamma”) Truman’s shotgun
- Poppies sent home by Captain Harry Truman from the battlefields of World War I
- Sterling silver Egyptian Revival cruet set
- Margaret Truman’s baby carriage
- Autograph books that show the beginning of a 130-year friendship between two families that continues to this day
- Silver casket nameplate for Harry Truman’s grandmother
Come and meet the uncles, aunts, siblings, cousins, parents, grandparents, and friends who went to our schools and churches, joined our organizations, worked in our community, and shaped our neighbor into someone the world came to know as “The Man from Independence.”
Harry S. Truman Library, 500 W. US 24 Highway
Hours: Mondays-Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sundays noon to 5:00 p.m.; Thursdays (May-Sept) 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Included with paid museum admission, $8 adults, $7 seniors, $3 ages 6-15.
816- 268-8200 or (800) 833-1225, www.trumanlibrary.org