Farming, Fraternity and Patriotism


As a boy, Harry Truman read and dreamed about the heroic military exploits of historical figures – Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee and others. 

During the Spanish American War, he and neighborhood friends formed a .22 rifle company called the “Junior Brigade.”  The fourteen-year-olds “had a grand time” conducting drills, camping out in the woods near Truman’s house, and practicing their marksmanship by shooting at stray chickens. 

In 1905 Truman joined the Missouri National Guard to further his sense of patriotism, service and camaraderie.  He learned the basic skills of an artilleryman at monthly drills and summer encampments.  After moving to his grandmother’s farm in 1906, these gatherings provided a welcome break from the loneliness of farm life.  But he assumed his military career was over when, in 1911, he had to leave the Guard, in part, due to increasing responsibilities on the farm.  






Exhibition Dates

Heroes or Corpses: Captain Truman in World War I is on display from March 10 through December 31, 2018.