The town was named Vanduser after land owner and merchant John S. VanDuser. John donated the land for the town buildings and the Baptist Church. Vanduser was situated along the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway. On May 15, 1986, a tornado hit Vanduser, killing a man when it destroyed his mobile home. Almost every building in the town of 350 people was damaged. "The whole town is virtually gone, Mayor Harold Graviett said regarding the aftermath. On the same day, a tornado also struck the nearby city of Sikeston.