According to existingcountries, Independence is the fourth largest city in the US state of Missouri and is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Around 110,000 people live in the city, making it the 228th largest city in the United States of America. Independence is also known as the “Queen City of the Trails” because it sits where the historic Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails meet.
Independence was one of the first cities where believers of the church movement called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are better known as Mormons, settled. They still have a strong presence in the city today and their temple is also located here.
The area where the city of Independence is now located was originally inhabited by the Osage Indians. Later, the Spanish came here and not long after that the French followed, who founded the city here on March 29, 1827. It was the westernmost point on the Missouri River, the city was located on the border between the states of Kansas and Missouri. Thus, within a few years, Independence was transformed into an important trading center where furs were traded in particular. The town was also an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail, which continued further west. People could spend the night here, recharge their batteries, or replenish their food and drink supplies.
The city reached its peak in the 30s and 40s of the 18th century. In 1849, the first mayor, William McCoy, was elected. Several major battles of the American Civil War took place near Independence. The first took place on August 11, 1862, when Confederate soldiers took control of the city. The second occurred in October 1864. The war took its toll on the city, and Independence never regained its former prosperity, even though reconstruction began soon after the war ended.
A prominent native of the city of Independence is the then US President Harry S. Truman, as well as his wife, First Lady Bess Truman. Both are therefore buried here, and their tomb is today an important cultural monument, next to which you will also find the Presidential Library and Museum. The city is also home to several educational centers such as Blue River Community College or the Graceland University campus.
Harry S Truman National Historic Site
Harry S. Truman was the 34th Vice President and 33rd President of the United States of America from 1945 to 1953. He assumed the presidency after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. Harry Truman was born on May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Conn. Missouri as the eldest child of John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellena Young Truman. He had a younger brother, John Vivian, and a sister, Mary Jane Truman. When Harry was six, his family moved to Independence, Missouri. The future president spent a large part of his childhood and youth here.
He graduated from high school in 1901 and did not study any further. He never received a university education. He went through several clerical jobs and eventually became a farmer for over 10 years. Once the US entered the war, Harry volunteered to join the National Guard and was sent to France as an officer. During his military training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he met many interesting people who later influenced his political career. One of these people was, for example, the politician Thomas Joseph Pendergast. When the war ended, Harry returned to Independence and married Bess Wallacow. Together they had a daughter, Margareth, who was born in 1924. At the same time, Harry Truman went into business and opened the Truman & Jacobson clothing store with a friend from France. However, the business soon went bankrupt due to a lack of customers.
In the early 1920s, Harry attempted to study law at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, but dropped out after two years. In 1922, with the help of Thomas Pendergast, he was elected county court judge in the electoral district of Jackson, Missouri, an administrative position. However, this was the start of his political career. In 1924, he was persuaded by a friend to join the Ku Klux Klan, for which he was criticized many times and which followed him like a shadow until his death.
At the time when he assumed the presidency, he had to deal with several serious events. Just after his inauguration in 1945, the first atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, the Cold War began, and Truman also had to outline the basic position of the US towards the spread of communism – there was a period of the so-called “red scare”. Although at the beginning of his presidential career, Truman did not inspire much confidence in the people and was called “the little man from Missouri”, over the years he managed to gain respect and a reputation as a strong and decisive statesman.
In 1964 he had a bathroom accident from which he never fully recovered. On December 5, 1972, he was admitted to the hospital due to heart failure, poor kidney function, and indigestion. On December 26, at 7:50 in the morning, he died in Kansas City at the age of 88. He is buried at the Truman Library in Independence. The Wallace House, where Harry S. Truman lived in his youth, is now a National Historic Site and is open to the public. An old family farm was even preserved in Grandview.