Rollin ‘Red’ Vandever


Biographical information:

C. Rollin Vandever farmed in Wilson County almost all of his life and cared greatly about the stewardship of the land.  He grew up in a time when farming methods and equipment did not include computers and GPS devices.  Rollin lived a frugal life and always tried to make the most of the resources that he had.   This attribute is shared by the Wilson County Old Iron Club.  Following his death in 2007, his daughter, Chris, donated the land that is now The Rollin ‘Red’ Vandever Memorial Park, to be used by the Wilson County Old Iron Club to share the knowledge of farming ways of the past.

C. Rollin Vandever

(January 28, 1913 - March 30, 2007)

Charles Rollin  Vandever was born January 28, 1913 to Dora Bingham Vandever and Charles DeWitt Vandever on the Vandever farm four miles south of Fredonia. He grew up with two sisters and a brother who all attended Stone School in Wilson County School District 24. He graduated from Fredonia High School in 1930 and attended Fredonia Business College part-time for a year while he farmed with his father. In 1931, Vandever entered Baker University and joined Zeta Chi fraternity. He graduated cum laude in 1935 with BA degrees in economics and business administration.

In 1935, he was hired by a company that would become Associated Grocers. In 1939, he joined W.J. Small, a hay and grain company that was expanding its territory. Vandever became branch manager of Small’s Kansas City operations. Over nine years, he worked in Kansas City, Toledo, Decatur, Memphis, Monroe, LA, Brunswick and Moberly, MO.

He wed Miriam Maxine Braun in 1941, and she later taught at Fredonia High School. She died in 1997.

In 1948, Vandever returned to his family farm and assumed its operation. He served on the District 24 School Board and the Wilson County Planning Commission. He helped organize Wilson County’s rural fire district and was a volunteer fireman for several years. He was the director for the Extension Council of the Department of Agriculture for two terms. He helped organize rural water district #7 and served three terms as a director. Vandever was a charter member of the Fredonia Coop Association and a board member, two terms as president and chairman. He was a charter member of the Fredonia Planning Commission and served three terms. He belonged to the Centralia Grange, MiDo Investment Club, the American Livestock Association and the First United Methodist Church. Vandever was awarded a Kansas Bankers Award for conservation in 1952.

In 1997, he married Linda Margaret Bartlett in Topeka, Kansas.

Charles Rollin Vandever died Friday, March 30, 2007 at the age of 94.

Vandever is survived by his two daughters, Kathy Vandever of Wichita, and Christina Alexander and her husband, Randy of Denver.

Chris & Randy

Alexander at the dedication,

Sept. 27, 2008: