History of the Irving Times


The Irving Times - Thursday August 22, 1918
The Irving Times - Thursday August 22, 1918

This is the way I remember it . . .


Aaron K. Vandever and one Sam Cotterell started a paper called the Irving Times at Irving on or about 1893. It was soon found that there was not enough business in Irving for the two families and Mr. Vandever purchased the interest of Samuel Cotterell for about $300.00. Mr. Vandever erected a new building for the printing office, built himself a new four room home. His family was composed of his wife Mary Haller Vandever, two sons, A. E. Vandever, Lester K. Vandever and one son Frankie who died when an infant.


About this time Clark Roberts came along with the brilliant idea of combining a furniture store and undertaking business with the Times and the elder Vandever was sold on the idea. However, this did not last long as again it was found that two families could not make a decent living out of the business and Vandever purchased interest Robert had, dropping the undertaking business.


Things went along in this manner until the boys were grown, when again there was too many to support. In the meantime, Lester went to Danville Indiana and attended the State Normal College and Ed was sent to Springfield to attend a business college and also study telegraphy. After attending this school for one term, our erstwhile hero fooled around the depot in a dilatory manner and finally came back after a few months to tell his parents that he believed that he would rather be a printer than a railroad executive,

Lester had returned from college and didn’t have any job. Then Aaron said boys if you want to stay with me, we will sell the Irving Times and buy a paper elsewhere. This pleased mother very much.


Father had been watching the advertisements in trade journals and answered several. It was decided to go to Kansas and see a prospect there. Before we could get started a letter came from W. P. Hagthorp who was publishing papers at both Witt and Nokomis, saying he would sell either or both of the papers. Father then sold his Irving Times to Curt Grantham and said we’ll take Nokomis as it’s a good farming town and Witt is only a coal mining town. So that’s the way we landed in Nokomis in 1908.


Written by:

A. E. Vandever

September 14, 1953


The Vandever family ran the Free Press Progress newspaper in Nokomis for more than 50 years.

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society