Mary Josephine "Mollie" Harris Vardiman, 1885 - 1980

Saline & Adair County, Missouri


Mollie Harris Vardiman


Age at death: 95

Nickname: Mollie or Molly

State: Missouri

Married: 24 Dec 1908

# of Children: 2

See narrative below.

Click on any photo to enlarge.


Mollie's Father: Phillip Watkins Harris
& his sisters

Phillip Harris sold Bibles

Mollie's Mother:
Almeda Holmes Harris

Mollie's Sister,
Emma Harris Morton Solomon

Vardiman Family ~ 1911
Vardiman Side, click on photo for labels.

Luella Mae & Callie Smith were sisters who married Vardiman brothers, John Peter and Richard Henry

Harris Family ~1912

Miles and Mollie Vardiman middle of back row with Mollie's siblings

Mollie with child

About 1915-1916

Phil (b. 1915) &
Ross (b. 1913)

Mollie about 1917

"Mollie's first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage of a little girl. She kept dressing their youngest son, Phil, in dresses until he was old enough to say, "Am I a boy or a girl?" She wanted a small family since she had been raised in a large family with nine siblings."
Family story passed down to Michelle Vardiman Fansler


Ross & Phil

Ross and Phil, Farm Boys

Miles Standish Vardiman in his Model T with Ross and Phil in front

Ross, Phil and dog, Billie

Phil Vardiman
High School Graduation ~1933

Mollie & Miles, 1936

Left to Right: Louise & Phil, Mollie & Miles, Emily & Ross holding June (1st grandchild)

Mollie & Miles Vardiman

Mollie in her garden. She always bent down from the waist.

~ 1948 at Miles & Mollie Vardiman's house
with grown boys and grandchildren

Left to Right
Back Row:
Ross, Mollie, Louise, Phil, Miles
Front Row: June, James, Billie & Larry

Right photo: Billie

~ 1949
Kathryn Hart Nunn (Stella's daughter),
Phil Vardiman, Mollie Harris Vardiman,
Emma Harris Morton Solomon

After Miles passed away in 1949 Mollie lived with her sister, Emma Harris Morton Solomon. Mollie is holding her grandson, Steve who was born in 1949.

Grandson, James Weslyn Vardiman (Ross' Son)
High School Graduation ~1962

Mollie with grandson, Larry Vardiman and great granddaughter, Michelle Vardiman, 1968

David, Mollie, Steve

Mollie with photo album

These fluffy and tasty rolls made from potato water are a Thanksgiving tradition in the Larry Vardiman household passed down from Mollie

Mary Josephine "Mollie or Molly" Harris Vardiman, 1885 - 1980

Mary Josephine Harris Vardiman was born 31 January 1885 in Saline County, Missouri. Everyone called her Mollie. The year Mollie was born Franklin Delano Roosevelt, future president, was three years old and growing up in New York. Laura Ingalls Wilder, future author, was 13 years old and Martha Jane Canary Burk "Calamity Jane", famous frontierswoman was 33 years old. Mollie was 23 years old when she married Miles Vardiman on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1908.

They had two boys, Ross and Phillip Vardiman.  Mollie also miscarried a daughter.  Mollie was 28 years old when Ross was born in 1913. Phillip Harris came two years later in 1915 who went by Phil. She didn’t want to have a large family because they had both come from very large families. 

Ross married Emily Burk and they had two children: June and James Wesley Vardiman.  James became a doctor.

            Phil became a large animal veterinarian.

Miles listened to the news on the radio and was very well informed of what was going on in the world.  He loved to talk about current events.  One time Louise remembers “Mollie came out of the kitchen and flipping her tea towel said, “Miles, Shutup.”  (Talk with Frances Louise Carter Vardiman Robinson 3 October 1997). Miles Vardiman died in 1949 at the age of 69 years old

                Mollie moved into Slater, Missouri after Miles died.  She worked in the garden a lot and her grandson, Larry, remembers that she didn't squat to pull weeds or pick vegetables.  Instead she bent from her hips.  She made pickled peaches with cloves and other canned fruits and vegetables.  She owned some crystal dishes and cut glass.  She had two or three feather beds that the family would sleep in when they were over visiting.  They were kind of lumpy but comfortable and warm.  The house was heated by a wood burning pot belly stove.  It would take an hour or two to warm up the house in the morning.  If you stood next to the stove you would get real hot on that side but your other side would be freezing.

                Larry remembers one time when she had come out to visit his family in St. Louis on the train.  Larry and Billie rode a train back with their Grandma and when they had to switch trains on the way Mollie walked up and down the platform worrying that they had missed the train and even when the train came she worried they wouldn't get on in time. 

                When Larry was in college he owned a motorcycle.  One of the times he went out to visit Grandma Mollie he offered her a ride.  She accepted to his surprise!  They drove around the block.  There's a short movie somewhere showing Grandma Mollie holding onto Larry as they rode around the neighborhood.

             "I remember Great Grandma Mollie and her house with the black pot belly stove.  She used to rub my arm to help me fall asleep.  I loved that.  I can remember her tiny floral wallpaper behind her rocking chair that I stared at as I got sleepy while she rocked me." Michelle Vardiman Fansler written 5 July 2010

 Mollie was 95 years old when she passed away in Kirksville, Missouri on Christmas day,
25 December 1980.

Written by Michelle Vardiman Fansler

"Grandma Mollie lived in Slater for years. For some time she worked as a practical nurse, caring for people in their homes. She also took care of her sister Aunt Emma in their home for a long time when I was a child growing up. She cared for her until she died in the home that you visited Grandma at.
I used to call her Aunt Enema."
Email from Billie Vardiman 7/25/2010

Copyright 2012