Harry was born in Lamar, Missouri, on May 8, 1884 to John and Margaret Truman.

A brother, John Vivian, and one sister, Mary Margaret, rounded out the family.

The family moved to Independence, Mo., where Harry attended public school. He graduated from high school in 1901.

It was quite unusual in those days for kids to wear glasses, so Harry was teased by the other children.

Due to his poor eyesight, he was prevented from joining in many of the boyhood activities. (Mom would say, "No rough stuff. You might break your glasses.")

Because of this, Harry became what some might call a bookworm. In fact, his mother had taught him to read the Bible at age 5. He is said to have read all 3000 books in the Independence (Missouri) Library, including encyclopedias, before he was 15.

She also encouraged him to practice on his piano lessons.

And that's what he did.

Harry practiced two hours a day, usually before school. He became quite accomplished. However, he gave up the lessons in high school, probably because they could no longer afford them, and went to work to help support the family.

Although Independence was no place for a young boy who played the piano, it suited his father just fine.

John Truman stood about 5'4", and it was known that he would not run from a fight. In fact, it is said, he would fight at the drop of a hat. He was tough.....One time Harry and his father were coming home from an errand when Harry fell off his pony. Although they were about a half mile from home, John told Harry, "A boy who is not able to stay on a pony at a walk should walk himself." Harry walked, crying all the way. Mrs. Truman was not too happy with her husband, but Harry never fell off the horse again.