History of Effingham County Townships
Effingham County is made up of 15 different Townships. Liberty, Banner and North Douglas are only half townships and Douglas and Teutopolis were split during the middle of the Civil War. Township organization was approved by the voters of Effingham County in 1860 and went into effect in 1861. Prior to township organization the divisions of the county were known as precincts and their numbers and range designated the congressional townships. However, as township organization was adopted, along with the township system of government, the congressional townships were given names. Liberty Township is found in the far Northwest part of Effingham County. It was named Liberty in honor of the forefathers that "fought, bled, and died" during the Revolutionary War. It is roughly 18 square miles and Wolf Creek is the principal stream running through the township from the northeast to the southwest. About two-thirds is rolling prairie and one-third is broken ground of woodland timber. The principal town in Liberty Township is the village of Beecher City in sections 29,30,31 and 32. It was platted by Edward Woodrow of St. Louis who was an engineer for the railroad and owned the surrounding land on April 8, 1872. It was named in honor of C. A. Beecher who was Vice President of the company that constructed the railroad. His Uncle H. L. Beecher ran the depot, was postmaster and dry goods merchant for many years at Beecher City. Many of the inhabitants of the little village of Greenland, which was in Fayette County, moved what buildings and items they could into Beecher City when the railroad came through.
The little village of Holland which is found on the county line between Effingham and Shelby is in section 22. The town was at first called Barlow but then changed to Holland. In 1896 the C and E. I. Railroad came through and Holland was surveyed by David Carlin for Mary A. Burk in 1898. Holland would be one of the last towns platted out in Effingham County.
Two railroads went through Liberty Township both running North and South. Beecher City was located on the Springfield Division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in which the roadbed was removed in 1985. Holland was founded on the Chicago&Eastern Illinois Railroad, which was later to become a part of the Union Pacific Railroad.Banner Township is found also along the North County line and is a half township as along with Liberty and North Douglas. As to how Banner Township derived its name I have been unable to determine. It originally was a part of Summit Township until June 1874, when the Supervisors' Court set it off from Summit. It is divided between woodland to the north and eastern side and prairie to the south and western side. The Little Wabash River cuts across the southeast corner of the township. Because of the extensive grassland in the western part of Banner Township many residents gave it a wide berth because of its wetness. Being prairie, the grass and ground was always wet and became a source of malaria during the summer months. It would only be until later when the timber ground was built up and the prairie ground better drained that settlers would move upon it and find it to be excellent ground.
The only village in Banner Township was Shumway. It was named after P. B. Shumway who was a railroad engineer. It was platted by the Chicago & Paducah Railroad Company in 1863 but did not sell lots until 1874. It was situated in section 33 at the junction of the railroad with the southern branch going into Altamont and the southeastern branch going into Effingham. Originally the post office was called Tolerance in 1874 and was for several years, but was changed to Shumway later. The Chicago and Paducah Railroad would later be bought out by the Wabash Railroad and its roadbed abandoned in 1936. The remains of the elevated road bed across the Little Wabash River bottom outside of Effingham can still be seen to the west of Illinois route 33.Douglas Township used to contain all of Teutopolis Township until it was divided in 1863. The result makes it look something like a carpenter's square. We will look at why Teutopolis was removed from Douglas in the section on Teutopolis Township. Douglas Township is found along the Little Wabash River bottom and consists of mostly rolling ground as a result. It was named after Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas who was a very popular Democrat in the Effingham area. The National Road running northeast to southwest bisects it. The northern part of Douglas was settled early by Southerners while the middle and southern part was filled in by Germans. The principal settlement of Douglas Township would be the city of Effingham. Click on Effingham to learn more about it (make sure to hit your back button on your browser to return). Effingham became the terminus of several railroads, which would insure its survival as a transportation hub. It had the Illinois Central running north to south, the Vandalia Railroad which would become the Pennsylvania later Conrail and CSX, running east to west roughly parallel the Old National Road opened April 26, 1870. The Wabash railroad terminated in town at the roundhouse and the Illinois and Indiana Southern would terminate also at the roundhouse would run east to Palestine, Illinois.
Douglas Township also is home to an area that was known locally as "Bull Flat" which was more of a community than a town. These were mostly early settlers who came in from Kentucky and Tennessee and other resident of the county seemed to make the most of the customs of the "Flatters". They made the most of how they consumed hard whiskey and loved to dance. How it picked up the name Bull Flat is unknown.
The other small settlement in Douglas Township would be St. Mary's or Green Creek, which is in section 22 of North Part Douglas in 1860. It was platted by H.H. Mette and Ferdinand Kaufman and was surveyed by James Anderson. Ground was set aside for a church and 56 lots but none were ever sold. It did maintain a post office for awhile.
Also a speculation town called TA-HA-NAH was laid out in section 17 in south part Douglas. It had 450 lots, which was platted by Ephram Obear of St. Louis and surveyed by Rowland A. Howard on July 26, 1857. He thought that the Brough Railroad (later the Vandalia) would go through his town. He was only able to sell five lots to a Canall Lauff for $8.00 apiece and two lots to Ellen Muir for $5.00 each. I could find no other record of this town and most likely this large enterprise was abandoned with the railroad coming through Effingham.Moccasin Creek Township is made up of mostly prairie and was avoided by the early settlers until the 1840's. It takes it name from Moccasin Creek which flows through it. Griffen Tipsword had named the creek moccasin because of the many moccasin footprints he found in the sand along the creek bank. Wolf Creek, which also flows through Moccasin Creek Township, was so named by Tipsword because of the wolves that he found there. I also would like to point out that the term "Creek" has been dropped from Moccasin Creek. I have found no solid evidence of this date but it must have been around the early 1880's time period. In Perrin's History of 1883 he has dropped the term Creek from Moccasin and yet on the map at the front pieces Moccasin as well as Bishop Creek is clearly labeled. I believe Perrin used the 1873 map of Effingham County for his book.
The Springfield Division of the Baltimore and Ohio (which is now gone) entered the township from the North along with the former C&E.I. Railroad and would converge upon the little hamlet of Moccasin and pass out to the south end of the township. Also, the Chicago and Paducah Railroad later the Wabash Railroad enters the township in section 13 and travels southwest into Altamont. It was removed in sometime in the 1920's.
Moccasin the village lies in Sections 9 and 16 in Moccasin Creek Township. John Maguire surveyed it on April 26, 1872 for Benjamin Jones, Joseph Yarnall and J. H. Miller who owned the land. Most of the business moved to Moccasin from the town of Boo Hoo, which was, located a half-mile west of present Moccasin. When the B&O came through most of Boo Hoo was skidded into Moccasin. In its heyday Moccasin once boasted a three-year high school located east of the Union Pacific tracks (former C&E.I.) on the north side of the Moccasin Road.
The other town is Blue Point or sometimes it called the Blue Point Lutheran Community. It was located in the southwest corner of Section 24 of the township. It was founded along the old Chicago and Paducah Railroad and was a shipping point for livestock and grain. At one time it had a cold beer storage Plant that shipped a carload of beer a week. All that remains is the St. Paul Blue Point Lutheran Church.Summit Township originally comprised Banner Township but in the 1874 during the June term of the Supervisors' Court it was set off from Summit Township. It was named Summit because it land was higher than the surrounding lands. Railroads in Summit Township include the Pennsylvania Railroad, which became the Penn Central, later Conrail, which in turn became the CSX. It runs from the northeast to the southwest and would just catch the southeast side of Summit Township paralleling the Old National Road or U.S. Route 40. It would be this railroad that would pass through old Ewington the former county seat of Effingham County. It would not be completed until 1870, which was far too late to save Ewington, as the Illinois Central would be completed through Effingham in 1856. The other railroad was the old Chicago and Paducah Railroad later the Wabash Railroad that ran from Stewardson in Shelby County down to Shumway. In Shumway it banished into Effingham and the other branch went on to Altamont. The Altamont branch was abandoned in the 1920's and the Effingham branch was abandoned in 1936.
Ewington is truly a ghost town for nothing but the cemetery remains anymore. It was founded in the southeast part of the county in sections 35 and 36. The old courthouse is long gone much of the structure of the town was obliterated with the changes made in old route 40 during the 1950's and when the railroad came through in 1870. The land was mostly rolling hills for the most part and it was perched upon the bluffs of the Little Wabash River. The coming of the railroad to the east where Effingham is sealed its doom as a town. Ewington was platted as a town on land donated by Joseph and James Duncan and surveyed by William J. Hankins, the first county surveyor with forty-one lots in 1835. However, it was started as a "camp" for workman working on the Old National Road and building a bridge across the Little Wabash River at a much earlier date. We know that a sawmill was there in 1832-33 and that Judge Gillenwaters kept a tavern a bit west of Ewington from 1833 until he moved into Effingham. It officially became a village in 1855 and after 1860 went into great decline. It was a rough and tumble place in the early days, especially when the railroad workers who were working on the Illinois Central were working in the county. As there was no Effingham yet their center of operations were located at Ewington. Many of them had the opportunity to sleep off their drunkenness in the county jail. The first roads in the county were laid out in Ewington north to Shelbyville and south to Fairfield. Mail came through once a week over the National Road via Terre Haute to St. Louis. Also, the Shelbyville road was used as a weekly mail route. While Freemanton has the distention of being the first platted town in Effingham County, Ewington most likely is the older of the two.
Funkhouser is a small village platted by John J. Funkhouser and Wilson Funkhouser in 1869. It was located in Section 34 and had a plat of 132 regular size lots and four oversize lots. It was located on the old Pennsylvania Railroad and the National Road about one mile West of Ewington. It would be the second town platted by the Funkhouser family. In its heyday it had a large apple orchard north of town and a tomato canning plant. Today it has a few houses along the side of the road.Teutopolis Township is mostly made up of broken ground and level prairie which made it very attractive to the early Germans who came to the Township in late 1838 and 1839 its name was taken from the community of Teutopolis itself. Teutopolis Township was formed as a result of the Civil War in 1862. According to Perrin's History draft was coming and the good folk of Teutopolis argued that going four miles to vote in Effingham was too far to go. So with all of that in mind Teutopolis Township was split off of Douglas. When the government formulas for the draft were taken into account Teutopolis had enough volunteers that the draft was never used there.
Much has been written about Teutopolis already but it was the formation of Teutopolis, which was set up as a haven for German Catholics from Cincinnati, that would literally open the doors of Effingham county for the German migration into it. Teutopolis is located along the Old Pennsylvania Railroad and the old National Road, and prior to the arrival of the railroad the residents of Teutopolis had to journey three miles to the west in Effingham for their rail needs. It was the shipment of the church organ pipes into Effingham that almost resulted in what has come to be known as the "Dutchtown War". In addition to Teutopolis itself there once was a small location that was called Masqulets' Place. Here Father Masqulet moved three miles west of the present Teutopolis Church and erected a second log church. The dissention of the parish was so great he felt it was better to build a church and minister to it own his own land. We know that he built the church and started a graveyard and that a few homes were located nearby. Mr. Charles Eversman hints that even perhaps he was going to start a town there. It would seem that the church and small site would be abandoned in the late 1850's with the mending of parish dissention and almost lost from memory.St. Francis Township is made up mostly of prairie and tends to become slightly rolling towards the South. It is supposed that it takes its name from St. Francis Church in neighboring Teutopolis but there is no hard evidence to support this. The Old National Road and the Old Vandalia Railroad that runs parallel to it bisect the township. St. Francis is an exception to most of the prairie townships in Effingham County. Many Germans who came to the county following those of the German Land Company in Teutopolis and settled in the 1839-40 time frame. Most of these early settlers settled near the smaller headwaters of Salt Creek and Little Salt Creek. There were very few early settlers in the beginning and they faced many hardships.
St. Francis Township did not have the savoriest reputation in the early years of Effingham County. There was a small settlement on the Old National Road in either section 16 or section 10 of the township run by "Kit" Radly. He allegedly kept a hotel but in reality was a gambling den and a rendezvous of a gang of thieves who would prey upon travelers on the old National Road. They also were not above preying on the surrounding German farmers in the area as well. It would not be until the local Germans decided to unite to rid the township of this gang that things would improve. It was alleged that one of the local German farmers went to the local saloon and let it be known that he had sold his cattle. That night the thieves showed up at his isolated cabin to steal his money. Instead a hail of gunfire greeted them by a group of German vigilantes from within the cabin. After this clash most of the robbers seemed to move on to the bend country on the Embarrass River where opposition to thievery did not exist.
Montrose is the only village of substance in the township and is located in section 3. J. B. Johnson who owned the land laid it out and on July 19, 1870 Calvin Mitchell the County Surveyor made the plat. At one time it boasted five general stores, two warehouses, two hotels, two blacksmith shops and a railroad express office and a flourmill.Mound Township is mostly made up of prairie and has the most interesting elevation to be found in section 8 of the township. The mound or "Blue Mound" as it was sometimes referred to rises to an elevation of seventy-eight feet above the elevation of the Vandalia Railroad, which passes to the south of it. It was this mound that travelers moving west on the Old National Road would sight upon from their horses and wagons to navigate through the tall grass prairies that grew around it. It is also from this mound that the township also takes its name. The township also had a large number of railroads that bisected as well. The Vandalia Railroad, later Pennsylvania, Conrail, and now CSX followed the old National Road through the township running east and west. Its first regularly scheduled trains began to run through Altamont on September 4, 1870. The Springfield and Ohio later the Baltimore and Ohio ran from north to south where it transgressed the Vandalia Railroad at Altamont. Its first regularly scheduled trains began to run through Altamont on October 1, 1871. The Chicago and Paducah, later the Wabash ran a branch from Shumway with its terminus being at Altamont. Its trains began to run into Altamont on a regular schedule on June 29, 1874. Also, the C&E.I, later Missouri Pacific, then the Union Pacific would come into the township from the north turn its line west at Altamont and exit the township and the county to the west.
Altamont is the largest town found in the county west of Effingham. J. W. Conologue who was the first superintendent of the Vandalia Railroad who owned the land where Altamont now stands started thought it was a good location for a town. He had it platted on July 19, 1870 by C.A. Van Allen who was an engineer of the Vandalia Railroad. Mr. Conolouge chose the name Altamont because of the mound located northwest of the new town. Alta means altitude and mont meaning mount or mound. Abner Dutton who erected a storehouse and store on the site bought the first lot sold in Altamont. In all four hundred lots were sold and all of it by private sale not by public auction which makes Altamont a very unusual town in our county. Altamont had many business and manufacturing plants from a very early date including two flouring mills, a wagon factory, a furniture factory and a baby carriage factory.
Mountville was founded along the blacktop about south along the Old National Road in-between section 15 and 16 along the small branch that feeds Big Creek. It had a few houses and a store with a post office established in the 1860s. It was a notorious site for thieves along the old road. Horse and cattle thieves being frequent visitors to the local tavern. G. H. Melville was the postmaster of Mountville in 1871. When the railroad came in to the north the post office in Mountville was transferred to Altamont. Today Altamont has absorbed Mountville and no trace of the former remains.
Bethlehem was a small community located in section 33 of Mound Township. The Bethlehem Lutheran Church was organized prior to 1860. Around the same time period a plat was made of the town and it had a general store and a post office, and 32 lots in it, however these did not last long. The Bethlehem Lutheran Churchs current building was constructed in 1868 which is the second oldest Church building still in use in Effingham County, the first being St. Francis Church at Teutopolis.Jackson Township takes it name from President Andrew Jackson. Jackson is bisected from north to south by the Little Wabash River and tends to be mostly hills and hollers. This made it a primary place for early settlers to locate. Jackson was bisected by the Old National Road on its northern most part and it has the distinction of having the being the oldest platted settlement and cemetery in the county. Freemanton was laid out June 21, 1834 of section 7 and was surveyed and platted by William J. Hankins for William and John Freeman property owners. They also were the early businessmen and residents of the town. Originally this area was called "The X Roads" or the Crossroads. It was one of only two "roads" that would cross the Old National Road as it was being surveyed between Vandalia and Terre Haute. In the early days of the county Freemanton was a rough and bawdy place. The itinerate workers of the Old National Road, along with other ruffians of the county would gather on Saturday Nights. Drunkenness, fighting, gaming were rife and there was no law and order to stop it. Rivalry between it and Ewington were common. A man named Hill was murdered at high noon in the middle of Freemanton on April 15, 1842 and while many hinted that John Trapp did it the charge was never proved. Much of the limestone used in the building of the county road was hauled up from the town of Limestone Creek through Freemanton. As the area became more settled the Crossroads name was dropped in favor of Freemanton and the unsavory elements moved further west. Freemanton also was unique in the county as it had the first wool-carding machine owned by Dr. Bishop, which enabled the local settlers to convert their wool to clothing. In addition he had a gristmill, saw mill, flour mill and all were ox or horse powered. In 1850 he would convert it to steam.
Dexter, which is found in section 6, was never platted as a town and in point of fact may be called a "suburb" of Freemanton. When the Vandalia Railroad came through in 1870 many folks simply moved over from Freemanton to Dexter. When the post office was moved from Freemanton it was named Dexter and kept in the "new" town. Dexter seems to have had a few stores and a railroad station in its heyday. But like other towns in the county it is a ghost town today.
Grandville as a town was something of an enigma to find. It was located on land owned by John J. Funkhouser and William Clark and surveyed and recorded by Sam Houston on March 2, 1841. It would be in section 5 of Jackson Township west of the Bowling Green Cemetery. It had a public square of 204 by 404 and ninety-six lots. Most likely as this land was owned by Funkhouser it was the site of his first store in Jackson Township. Many of the early histories of the county maintain that this was the first store in the county. Grandville seems to have almost ceased to exist as a town by 1883 as Perrin makes little mention of it and says it was finally vacated by legislative enactment.
Boggsville is found in section 22 of Jackson Township. There never were any commercial enterprises there nor were there any lots. It was a termed coined by local residents in the 1970s for the area. The County did erect signs along the county road letting motorist know they were entering into Boggsville.Watson Township was named after a prominent official of the Illinois Central Railroad, at whose suggestion the village of Watson was laid out. Watson is made up of mostly broken ground with some small sections of prairie located within it. The forests of Watson Township furnished many of the Illinois Centrals railroad ties in our region. The western side of Watson Township is traversed by the Illinois Central Railroad.
Watson the village is located in section 30 of Watson Township the owner of the land was John L. Bernard and platted by the deputy county surveyor into lots on October 26, 1857. As mentioned before officials of the Illinois Central Railroad suggested that a town be placed here and a small storeroom was built. Watson would grow to have many stores and several interesting factories some of which were; wagon and carriage makers, boot and shoe maker, canning factory, stove factory, buggy spoke shop etc. The post office was established in Watson in 1856 with Josh Irwin its postmaster and it was originally called Salt Creek. In 1868 the good citizens of Watson requested its name be changed to Watson
Franklin was a small site of forty lots and surveyed by R. A. Howard for Amos Duhamel and Isaac Greenwood on July 26, 1854. It is found mostly in section 24 of Watson Township. It is not known what became of this town, as Perrin does not mention it in his history of 1883. More than likely it became another town that faded away from memory.
New Schaumberg is a name given to the little Lutheran Church Community located in section 8 of Watson Township. It had a small frame church with a school associated with it as well. A cemetery was located to the east of the church. While never being a town all of their baptism records refer to this "community" as New Schaumberg. This church would later merge with St. Johns Lutheran Church in Effingham and all that remains is the cemetery on Dutch Lane.Bishop Creek Township was named after Bishop Creek which flows through it. The creek was named after the township's first settler Samuel Bishop. Bishop Creek tends to be a flat township with the exception of woodland that lines the creeks in the township. Bishop Creek Township is traversed diagonally in its northeast corner by the Indiana and Illinois Southern later the Illinois Central. Illinois Highway 33 also follows the railroad's path through the township.
The Village of Elliotstown was surveyed and platted June 17, 1854 by the county surveyor R. A. Howard for Smith Elliott who owned the land. It is located in section 32 with part of it going into section 5 of Lucas Township. There were several buildings in the process of being built when the town was platted. In its day it was it fairly a fairly lively little town. It had several stores, doctors, gristmill (one which blew up killing the owner), hotel, wagon factory, a newspaper the "Ellittstown Advocate" and several saloons. When the temperance movement hit the little village of Elliotstown the saloons were gone except a gentleman named Jim Green who kept and sold whiskey by the barrel. The good citizens tried to dissuade him of this practice but he would not do so. So one evening a group of good citizens stole into his smokehouse where the barrel was kept over the well and drilled a hole into it to empty it of its evil. Fearing they would be caught they fled before it was empty. The next morning Mrs. Greens entire barrel of new soft soap was emptied into the well and no one knew who bore the hole.
Dieterich or Dieterichsburg is found in section 13 and was laid out by M. Dieterich who owned the property. C. A. Van Allen the county surveyor surveyed it on January 8, 1881. The building of the railroad through it sparked Dieterichs growth. It had several stores, brickyard and other business as well. Today Dieterich is growing again with its industrial b park and community spirit.
Graceville was a village that was located adjacent to Dieterich. C.A. VAN ALLEN the county surveyor for John Grace the landowner surveyed it and it was platted February 5, 1881. But eventually after it was platted it was absorbed by Dieterich.West Township is mostly level prairie and as such was slower to be settled than other sections in Effingham County. West Township was and is mostly an agricultural township if there ever was one. It was called West Township because when the county adopted the township organization it was the first township on the West side starting from the bottom of the county.
West Township was crossed on the northeast corner by the old Springfield and Ohio Railroad later the Baltimore and Ohio Southern. The road was abandoned and tracks removed in 1986.
The only town in West Township was Welton named after W. S. Welton and Lucy M. Welton on August 2, 1882 on both sides of the railroad in section 11. Prior to that it was called Gillmore and not withstanding that Mr. and Mrs. Welton named after themselves it is still known by that name yet today. In its day it had a station on the railroad, millinery shop, two blacksmith shops, creamery, telephone exchange and two icehouses. Its post office began operation in 1872. Today there is little left of Gillmore and as the railroad is now gone it is getting harder to find just where it was today.Mason Township is much like West Township in that is equally prairie and gently rolling woodland. The township was named after the village of Mason that is situated nearly the center of the township. Mason Township was traversed by two railroads. The first was the Chicago Branch of the Illinois Central Railroad. It runs from the northeast to the southeast of the township. The last spike that completed the Illinois Central was driven near the Village of Mason on September 26th 1856. The Illinois Central aggravated Mason residents by renaming the station in the village to Clio Station after a train wreck. It was claimed that the engineer in the dim light of the cab could only make out the 'son at the end of the dispatch. He thought the track was out at Mason not Watson and wrecked the train. The Illinois Central then changed the name to Clio Station to prevent confusion. The good folks of Mason never accepted the change and the town was still called Mason. As a kind of punishment to the town the railroad allowed the depot and accompanying buildings to fall to a sad state of affairs and Perrin in his 1883 history notes that it was a fairly shoddy affair. Also, just south of Edgewood the Illinois Central runs what is called the Edgewood cutoff. When traffic became so heavy on the Chicago Branch a new branch was built that went south out of Edgewood to the Ohio River. This branch runs for about a ¼ of a mile before it leaves the Township and the County to the south. The Springfield and Ohio later the Baltimore and Ohio ran in a northwesterly and southeasterly direction through the township where crossing the Illinois Central in Edgewood.
Limestone Creek was never a town but an area that was started in the early 1830s. Many of the immigrants working on the Old National Road worked in the quarry for the limestone rock that was used on the road. This quarry was near where Fulfer Creek and Limestone Creek join together in section 8 of Mason Township. When all work stopped on the road in 1834 they became settlers. It was located in the same area as Broomsburg.
Broomsburg came into being August 6, 1851 when Samuel Broom had George Wright survey 33 lots on his land around his store. According to land records Broomsburg it was between the section 6 and section 7 of Mason Township. It never really grew into a town and it only had a post office and a store. By time Perrin wrote his history of the county in 1883 it was all but forgotten about. Broomsburg is the site of where the first wheat was grown in Effingham County as well as where the first orchards were planted.
Bristol was laid out with 32 lots and platted on June 6, 1851. The owners of the land were A. W. Henry and his father Elijah Henry in section 27 of the township. A post office and blacksmith shop were located there but the town never had much chance to grow for when the Illinois Central came through it missed Bristol by about a mile to the north. So the Henrys along with others platted a new town called Mason along the railroad and loaded up everything in Bristol and moved it to the new town. Even the store building was loaded up on poles and skidded there.
Mason was platted February 26, 1853 by Messrs. Henry and Joshiah W. Robinson and Robert M. Rankin who owned the land in section 22. George Wright who was the county surveyor surveyed the plat. It was named after Roswell B. Mason who was a survey engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad. Mason had many business and hotels at the start and even had pretensions of rivaling Effingham. But the Great Depression was hard on Mason and with the closing of its bank it business district went on the decline. Today Mason is barely a former shadow of its former self.
Edgewood was laid out by the Illinois Central Railroad as a prospect town in 1857. Its post office began operation in 1858. The village was incorporated in 1869. Edgewood was a quiet town that had a few stores, blacksmith shop and some light industry in the early 1920s. An interesting fact of note that when Effingham would not allow Black railroad workers to stay in town after dark, the workers would use a hand car to carry them to Edgewood where they where they were allowed to stay.Union Township is broken from North to South by the Little Wabash River bluffs. It was these bluffs along the Little Wabash River that came to be known as Fiddlers Ridge. It also is the location of Brockets Mill in section 17 along the Little Wabash River about 1831. This was the only Mill between Vandalia and Terre Haute. One of the first roads in the County was laid out from Ewington to Brockets Mill. The only thing at Brockets Mill would be the ford where the river was crossed and the mill itself. The mill would burn around 1838 and was bought by Brockets son-in-law a Martin K. Robinson. Around 1848 the mill burned again and was reopened by a Mr. Bradly.
Union Township is not traversed by any railroads and its name came from the Webster-Hayne debates of the 1820s, which were being replayed during the 1850s. "Union one and inseparable" the phrase used by Webster became the name for the township. Later during the Civil War union would be widely used to designate the side of the North.
The only settlement in Union Township was when Hartwig Samilson laid out the small hamlet of Flemsburg on May 7, 1851 by county surveyor George Wright. It consisted 72 lots located around the mill, which was started by Samilson in 1850 in section 29. Today many people and maps wrongly call it Flensburg but the plat and the old histories of the county call it Flemsburg. It did have an early wooden bridge crossing the river as well as a stored and post office. In 1860 a man named Shepard was killed on the bridge by two brothers "Shell and "Dick" Russell who had squatted on his land. Shepard took them to court and the court agreed with him that the squatters must move. The Russells appealed the decision of the court, but on the Saturday before court would convene Shepard went to Mason for supplies. On his return that night he was met on the bridge by the Russell boys and a Scott Howell and Jacob Booher and knocked off his horse with a heavy club and thrown into the river. The horse was found the following Monday and the saddle was covered in blood. The neighbors suspicious of foul play searched and found the body on a sand bar downstream. The murderers were arrested and tried and their guilt established they were to be hanged. They broke from jail and escaped and were never apprehended.
Hill is a small spot on county maps that appears around the 1920s. It was not platted as a town and seems to only have had a store, post office and a gas station. Hill is located between Sections 27 and 34 along US Route 45.Lucas Township is made up of large tracks of level and undulating prairie while the Western side is somewhat broken by Ramsey Creek and Little Bishop Creek. It was here that hunter-trappers settled in 1830 in sections 18 and 17 in the township. There are no railroads or major highways in Lucas Township except for the Dieterich Blacktop.
The village of Winterrowd sometimes called Tailhold was surveyed and laid out in 1863 by Washington Winterrowd on ground that had belonged to Thomas Scott overlapping sections 24 and 25. It had a store, post office, blacksmith shop and a dozen residences in 1883. Its nickname of Tailhold was acquired when Jacob Winterrowd grabbed onto a cows tail and pulled it off. Today it is little more than a wide spot in the road.
Eberle was never a village but a post office and a few residences located nearby. A Dr. Allen established it in 1867 and he was appointed postmaster. Eberle is found at the intersection of section 19,20.29 and 30.
In closing these are the main things about the townships that I could find by researching the county records and older history books on Effingham County. There are several places I could find scant or no records on and I did not know where to place them. Veni Post Office was in the vicinity of Dieterich and was replaced by it. Most of them were most likely rural post offices that served the neighborhood rather than a town. Eversham is listed on 1873 map of Effingham and looks to be in Bishop Township but I could not find anything on it. Likewise with Post Oak I could find no evidence of where it could be found as well, although I think it was in Jackson Township.