Truman Library - Mize Peters Oral History Interview
Mize PetersTruman Library - Mize Peters Oral History Interview
FUCHS: Mr. Peters
, how did you become acquainted with Harry Truman?
: Our first acquaintance was in the Noland School
, which was known as the Southside at that time, in Independence, Missouri.At that time there were only two schools in Independence, the Southside, or what later became the Noland School
and the Northside, later the Ott School
and I were seatmates in the first grade.
: I don,t recall being in the second grade at all with him.He
was a boy who skipped grades.I wasn,t; I played a little bit but he
was always studious.
: Same seat, yes.
...PETERS: Yes, I was born at 209 South Main Street right across from the city hall where my grandmother lived.
: No, it was manufactured gas.
: Of course there weren't so very many around there then, probably four or five.
: Of course, as a youngster, the gas impressed me, but water wells were quite ordinary.
: Yes, I,d go over there and play and he
,d come over to my house to play.Of course, it was quite a distance and we didn,t do it very often.Usually he would come to my house after school because I lived closer to the school than he did.
: Was that from Crysler Avenue?
FUCHS: From Crysler.PETERS
: And how long did they stay on Waldo?
: I had no contact with them when they went to Kansas City and I,d forgotten that.
: No, I don,t remember that.
: No, I never went in the drugstore to see him there.I just don,t know how long he
: I don,t know whether he
lived on Waldo or whether he
lived on Crysler when he
worked in the drugstore, but I think he
lived on Waldo.I don,t believe he
was quite old enough when he
lived on Crysler to work in the drugstore.
: I do not know this.
, the Clinton store was on the south side of the square right next door to where the First National Bank is now, or maybe the second door from there.
: I think it was because when it was on the south side of the square I was quite small and I,m sure he
would have been too small to work then.
: Yes.I was born September 24, 1885, and he was born May 8, 1884.He
was 79 last May and I,ll be 78 this September.
: Yes, I was seven years old.
: Why he
was in the same room I was, as smart as he
was, I don't know.He
was always smart but he
didn't try to impress people with his
enjoyed studying and learning.
: My goodness, I don't remember.
: No, he
: In later years I had a bicycle.
: No.She lived on the other side of town and went to Ott School.
: On the Woodland College property (where Bryant School
is now) there was a pond where we used to skate in winter.She
lived close, on Delaware Street, and,
was there a lot.
: Well, I wouldn,t say I was her
beau, but I,ve taken her
: I don,t remember.
: It was about the same as a ten-cent store nowadays, but they were called racket stores.
...PETERS: He was always the head of his class.
: No, I don,t, except that she
was always lovely to us and a lovely person to be around, motherly to all of us.My most vivid memory of her
is in later years after her
: I had the drugstore then.
: You mean Harry,s father?
...PETERS: Yes, he was a road overseer.
: I just don,t remember.
: No, he
lived out in Grandview, and then he
had that haberdashery store in Kansas City.
: Oh, yes.He
father was very quick-tempered and he
didn,t mind a good, honest fight.
: Well, no, but I saw the results of one.It was when my father had his
livery stable.My father was a stockman and he
had a sales barn right across from the county jail in an old rock and frame building.
had light livery, horses and single buggies to rent, no carriages like the ones we went to dances in, but you could get a surrey or a team.
: I was a good-sized boy.
: Yes, I was in his
store a few times, not many.
: No, I never did.Really, our closest friendship was after he
got into politics.Then when he
ran for Senator we went different places together.I remember that Mrs. Peters
and I went to Sedalia one time and another time to Pleasant Hill.It was at Pleasant Hill that he
voice from talking so much.Mrs. Peters
and I took Mrs. Truman to Pleasant Hill.
: Oh, I thought it was fine, at least for politics.
: Yes, we did, but for some reason I have a hard time remembering about it.
: Yes, I remember him quite well, but I don,t know what the connection was.
: Millard,s grandfather was a Republican mayor of Independence years and years ago.
: No, I don't remember what class he
was in.I think he
was ahead of me.
graduated with Mr. Truman in the same class from high school.PETERS
: Charlie was another smart boy.
: I suppose they did.
: I never called him Uncle Willy.I believe it was when he
was spoken of that they called him that, not when he
was spoken to.
: I think it was usually someone who didn't like something he
was very independent of his
friends.He'd criticize Mr. Truman many times although he
still was an admirer of his
: I knew Mr. Southern very, very well, and I admired him, but there were some things he
was very set on.He
was more or less a reformer.He
was very "dry" for one thing.But he
did admire Mr. Truman.
You know, many people speak out their admiration for him in unexpected ways.Recently we sold some antiques.Mrs. Peters put an ad in the Examiner and just the phone number, no address or name.
A man called up to find the address, then he
came out to see an old iron pot.When he
got here he
seemed to know me, although I'm
not sure of his
said, "'You're an old friend of Truman's, aren't you?"
I said, "Yes, we were seatmates in the first grade in school and we've been close friends since."He
said, "Well, you know, people today are appreciating him more than they ever appreciated him when he
was in the White House.They're still after his
opinions on things.
Second Interview with Mize Peters
, Harry S. Truman Library, August 21, 1963.
: I have often wondered whether that was the reason or not.
: Of course, that's been so long ago, I just don't remember his
definite attitude; he
was not a machine man, or he
didn't believe in machine politics.
: I can't say that he
endorsed it, but I do not think he
: Oh, yes.
: Yes, because whenever he
would go around over the state to speak, we'd go.Then when he
was campaigning for judgeships for the county court, we went to different meetings.My wife has never been active in politics, but she
was always interested in anything that concerns the Trumans.
: Well, that's been going on for a long time; when it started it was much larger than it is now.
: Oh, yes.It's been a long time.What year did