Thursday, April 28, 2016

Miss Mary Jane Truman

Miss Mary Jane Truman
Mary Jane Truman (1889-1978) = Pianist/Organist, Sunday School teacher, & sister to former US President Harry S. Truman. Mary Jane was the third child born to John Anderson (1851-1914) and Martha Ellen Young Truman (1852-1947) on August 12. Mary Jane's paternal grandparents were Anderson Shipp and Mary Jane Holmes Truman and her maternal grandparents were Solomon and Harriet Louisa Gregg Young. She was named for her paternal grandmother and Harry's daughter, Mary Margaret Truman was, in turn, named for her.

Solomon Young's Home, Grandview, MO.

Sometime after the Trumans moved to Independence in 1890, Mary's brothers Harry and Vivian came down with diphtheria and she was taken to Grandma Young's in Grandview, MO. to stay until her brothers were well. When Mary Jane was older, she helped with chores in the house and learned to cook for the family as well as the farm hands. She rode a horse on errands to town. After Grandpa passed away, Grandma Young needed help running the farm, so the Truman's moved back. Mary Jane and her mother lived on the farm until the 1940s when they moved into Grandview.

As a member of Grandview's First Baptist Church (f. 1848), Mary Jane taught a Sunday School class and hosted Sunday School picnics on the lawn of their home. Like Harry, she could play the piano or organ and did so regularly for church services. When she was 19, she played for the Grandview Methodist's very first church service, then at 8th and Goode.

She was a postal clerk and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. She was instrumental in the sale of lands for the Truman Shopping Center built in 1957.

More to Read:
1. Harry S. Truman: Missouri Farm Boy. By Wilma J. Hudson. 1973.
2. History of Grandview, Missouri: 1844-1994. Grandview Historical Society, 1995.

3. "History of Grandview." City Hall,  City of Grandview, MO.
4.  Jackson County Pioneers. By Pearl Wilcox. 1975.
5. Mr. President. The First Publication from the Personal Diaries, Private Letters Papers, and Revealing Interviews of Harry S. Truman. By William Hillman. 1952.
6. “Harry Truman: The Millionaire Next Door” By Brian Burnes. The Kansas City Star Magazine, Kansas City, MO.; January 15, 2012. PP. 6-13.
Truman’s Grandview Farm. By Jon Taylor. 2011.
8. Missouri Roadsides: The Traveler's Companion. By Bill Earngey. University of MO Press, 1995.
9. Childhoods of the American Presidents. By William O. Foss. McFarland & Co, 2005.
10. "Truman and the Trails" Niel M. Johnson. Overland Journal, Vol. 5, Number 2, 1988. Pp. 25-29 (photo of Solomon Young included in article)
11. Some Truman Photos
12. Sister-in-law, Bess Truman's biography.
This article gives names of Miss Mary's girlfriends. See if you can find them.
Findagrave #6137032

Places to Visit in MO.:
1. Former Truman Homes (private residences), on Chrysler St. & at 909 W. Waldo Ave., Independence.  
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, Independence
3. Historical marker at Truman (former name: Corners) Marketplace Shopping Center, between 71/49 Hwy and Blue Ridge Blvd, Grandview
4. Church of God, 8th & Goode, Grandview
5. First Baptist Church Historic Room, 15th and Main St., Grandview (by appointment only)

6. Solomon Young's home, 12301 Blue Ridge Blvd, Grandview. Truman Farm Home, cell phone tour = 585-672-2611.
7.  Annual Truman Heritage Festival, Grandview (parade, craft/food vendors, BBQ contest, etc.)
8. Applebee's Restaurant, Truman Marketplace, 71/49 Hwy, Grandview (see Truman photos on northeast wall inside the restaurant)
9. Greater Kansas City History Day

Update: The National Archives holds the Presidential Secretary's Files from the Truman Administration (1945-1960). Among those papers is his diary he kept while in office.


  1. Mary Truman was the perpetrator with the assistance of Rose Conway, Truman's secretary when he was VP and President, of removing and destroying the 'Dear Mother and Aunt Mary ' letters that HST wrote each week from the White House. Truman wrote these letters to have his perspective on events in writing as they happened. This invaluable source was deliberately written by HST for future historians and to assist him in composing his memoirs.
    This incredible act of vandalism can only be partially excused by the age and senility of the perpetrators.

  2. Anonymous, I guess you have a right to your opinion as to the nature of Mary Jane’s mental health, but what I’ve read about Mary Jane was that she was a very private person. Living in a "fishbowl" can do that to a person. By the way, I understand there is a collection of her papers at Truman's Library in Independence.

  3. As I was searching "history of borders grandview missouri truman," yours was first to show up (under!). Thank you for your thorough research and accounting of this key woman in history!

    "Anonymous" folk lurk about these days, don't they?

    1. Thank you. Much has been written on Harry, but not on the other members of his family. I was intriqued by her story when reading about her in the Grandview history book. And yes, there are a few "anonymous" folks out there. That's all right, they can remain nameless, if they so wish. So what are you researching exactly, connecting to "borders" may I ask?


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