Ike's Boyhood Years, 1890-1910

Dwight D. Eisenhower, born in 1890, was a Texan by birth—the only one of seven Eisenhower sons to be born outside of Dickinson County, Kansas. His paternal grandparents, originally from Pennsylvania, settled south of Abilene in 1878, members of a religious community called the Brethren in Christ or “River Brethren.” “David Dwight” Eisenhower returned, with his parents and two older brothers, to Abilene, Kansas, in 1892. It is true that he grew up on the “wrong” side of the tracks, as Abilene, north of the Union Pacific line, was considered the environs of Abilene’s professional and business class. The influences that shaped his upbringing included his parents—especially his mother, Ida—his River Brethren background, his teachers and classmates, and his many experiences growing up in turn-of-the century, small-town, Abilene. Those who knew him then describe a bright, energetic, friendly—if not ornery at times—boy who was both popular among his peers and liked by adults. Though young Dwight Eisenhower gave an outward appearance of good fun and nonchalance, lurking beneath the surface were indications of the ambition and a drive that would propel him into a future that no one could have imagined.

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