Effingham County
Then and Now

Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Springfield, Illinois to Close
on December 1, 2001

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has announced that Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Springfield will be closed effective December 1, 2001 due to declining numbers of parish members and the limited number of priests available to minister in the diocese. Even though the parish will be closed, the decision on the future of the 135-year old church and adjacent rectory, located at Sixth and Reynolds streets, is still under advisement. Sts. Peter and Paul Church is Springfield's oldest standing Catholic parish church.

The parish's geographic territory south of Carpenter Street will be annexed to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located at Sixth and Lawrence streets. Territory north of Carpenter Street will be annexed to St. Joseph Parish, 1345 North Sixth Street.

The decree closing the parish officially transfers all registers, sacramental records, archives and seals of the parish to the Cathedral of the Immaculate  Conception.



I  recently went to a seminar and learned a lot about land searches, migration of ancestors, etc.  I remember one phrase:  "Your people may not have moved, but their land may have."  The speaker suggested making a "time line" for the county you are researching, because even though the land didn't really move, the county boundaries certainly may have.  So.....I worked up a time line for Effingham County, and was I ever surprised.  I was looking in wrong places!!!!  So to share with all of you, here is the time line I worked up for Effingham County.

                      Year          Effingham County
1699 France
1763 Great Britain
1774 Quebec (Canada)
1787 Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory, St. Clair County
1800 Indiana Territory, St. Clair County
1809 Illinois Territory, St. Clair County
1812 Illinois Territory, Madison County
1815 Illinois Territory, Edwards County
1816 Illinois Territory, Crawford County
1818 Statehood (still a part of Crawford County)
1821 What is now Effingham County was split. The western 2/3 was Fayette County; the eastern 1/3 was Crawford County
1831 to present Effingham County

(Courtesy of Bill Grimes of the Effingham Daily News)

Effingham County had a poor farm for nearly 80 years, first at the old courthouse in Ewington beginning around 1860, then in Watson Township from the 1890's until about 1940.  The county privatized the operation  in 1931.  The Social Security Act of 1935 gave the elderly and disabled a safety net and made poor farms obsolete.  Consequently, the Effingham County Poor Farm was closed around 1940.  The 1930 census showed the caretaker's family, plus eight "inmates".  The two-story home that housed the residents was torn down in the 1940's.  The cemetery is adjacent to the Poor Farm. No one has been buried in the cemetery for nearly 70 years, but so far 63 graves have been identified in the cemetery, which has long been taken over by brush and woodland. 

The area's historical significance is invaluable.  As of July, 2008 a group of history-minded folks in Effingham County are interested in restoring the old cemetery.  An ad-hoc committee has been formed under the authority of the Effingham County Board.  Once the area is cleared and all the graves are located, the committee hopes to put a granite marker on the site with a brief historical summary.

Location: South and west of the Effingham County Memorial Airport near Heartville in Watson Township.  As of July 2008, there is no public access to the site.


     (You May Find These in Old Death Records)

 Time Line for Known Wars*, Epidemics & Natural Disasters in Illinois

 Please help me...if you know of anything to add, let me know .... Linda

* Unless otherwise noted, events are limited to Illinois or a territory that included Illinois....

                  DATE                                           EVENT
1700 - Tertian Fever Junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
1754-1763 - War French and Indian War
1775-1783 American Revolution
1785 - Flood American Bottoms
1789 - Intermittent Fever Port Vincennes
1797 - Malignant Fever Kaskaskia
1799 - Smallpox Cahokia
1803 - Bilious Fever Fort Dearborn
1805 - Tornado American Bottoms
1807 - Influenza Illinois 
1808 - Scarlet Fever Ohio Valley (including Illinois)
1811 - Earthquake Estimated at over 8.0 on the Richter Scale. Centered in New Madrid, MO, but caused massive damage in Illinois. Felt from Canada to New Orleans and as far east as Boston
1812 - Smallpox Illinois
1812-1815 - War War of 1812
1813 - War Peoria Indian War
1820 - Yellow Fever Vincennes (Illinois/Indiana Border)
1820 - "Cold Plague"/Influenza White County
1824 - Influenza Illinois
1827 - Dysentery Galena and other parts of Jo Daviess County
1827 - War Fever River Indian War, Winnebago Indian War 
1830 - Milk Sickness Illinois
1831 - War Sac and Fox Indian War
1832 - Cholera Central Illinois, including Effingham County
1833 - Milk Sickness American Bottoms
1832-1833 - War Black Hawk War (Illinois and Wisconsin)
1835 to 1837 - Ophthalmia  Illinois
1835 - Fever Beaver Creek, Iroquois County
1836 - Yellow Fever Peoria and vicinity
1837 - Smallpox Native American Communities
1839 - Fever and Ague Along the Mississippi River near Rock Island and Fulton Counties. Also DeKalb County.
1843 - Erysipelas Bloomington
1843 - Influenza Illinois
1844 - Cholera Green, Tazewill and Will Counties
1844 - Erysipelas Edwards and neighboring counties
1844 - War Mormon War
1845 - Meningitis Southern Illinois
1845 - Black Tongue Lawrence County
1846 - Fever and Ague 1,500 cases in Stark County
1846 - Typhoid McClean County
1846-1848 - War Mexican War
1848 - Malaria, Typhoid Central Illinois
1849 to 1852 - Cholera Entire state; especially severe in the Chicago area
1850 - Cholera Coles County
1852 - Cholera, Smallpox, Erysipelatous      Ophthalimia, Dysentery, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Malaria Entire State of Illinois
1853 - Puerperal Fever Entire State of Illinois
1854-1855 - Cholera Effingham County
1857 to 1867 - Diptheria Chicago area
1858 - Tuberculosis Chicago area
1859 - Malaria Entire State
1860-1865 - War Civil War
1862 - Measles & Pneumonia Metropolis, Illinois region
1864 - Erysipelas Various locations throughout Illinois
1865 - Ague Southern Illinois
1870 - Diarrheal Disorders, Measles Entire State
1871 - Great Chicago Fire Chicago
1872-1873 - Cholera Effingham County
1873 - Influenza Entire State
1876 to 1896 - Diptheria Entire State (especially the Chicago area)
Peak year was 1880.
1878 - Yellow Fever Cairo
1881 - Smallpox Chicago
1881 - Cerebrospinal Fever Entire State
1882 - Smallpox 77 of 102 Counties (not specified)
1882 - Scarlet Fever Rockford
1885 - Glanders Kane, Peoria and Boone Counties
1885 - Heaviest Rainfall on Record 6.19 inches in 24 hours on August 2 and 3, 1885
1889 - Influenza Entire State
1898 - War Spanish-American War
1903 - Fire Iroquois Theatre Fire, Chicago
November, 1909 - Coal Mine Fire - St. Paul Coal Mine, Cherry, Illinois
1918 - Influenza Worldwide (including Illinois)
1914-1918 - War World War I
March 18, 1925 - Tornado A tornado destroyed the De Sota Public School near Tamaroa. Many children were either killed or badly injured. The tornado swept across Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.  In Illinois alone, more than 600 people were killed. Severe casualties were reported in West Frankfort, Murphysboro, Carmi and Orient in southern Illinois. 
April 30, 1925 - 10:00 PM Earthquake - 3 distinct shocks felt from St. Louis, Missouri to Evansville, Indiana, and from Chicago to Cairo.
1927 - Flood Flood - Mississippi River basin
December 24, 1932  - Coal Mine Coal Mine Gas Explosion - Moweaque
1939-1945 - War World War II (America Joined in 1941)
March 27, 1947 - Coal Mine Gas expolsion in coal mine near Centralia
April 4, 1949 - Hospital Fire
St. Anthony Hospital Fire, Effingham
1950-1953 - War Korean War
1961-1975 - War Vietnam War
September 15, 1972 - Earthquake 3.7 on the Richter scale; epicenter in southern Illinois. Caused damage in Amboy, Holcomb and Rock Falls.
April 3, 1974 - Earthquake 4.7 on the Richter scale; epicenter in southern Illinois
December 5, 1978 - Earthquake 3.5 on the Richter scale; epicenter in southern Illinois
1983 - War Grenada
May, 1991 - War Desert Storm War 
May, 1999  - Flood Flood - Joe Daviess County
April 19, 2008 - Earthquakes
A 5.2 earthquake struck at 4:36 AM. Another quake measuring 4.5 occurred at 10:15 AM. Epicenter was near West Salem, (Edwards County, south of Olney).  Effects felt in Jasper, Clay and Effingham counties.   Up to 20 afershocks continued for the next two days.
June, 2008
Several weeks of heavy rains resulting in flooding and ruined crops.  Some areas got as much as 7" of rain on some days.  Some areas were declared disaster areas, eligible for Federal relief.  Salt Creek was over flood stage between Teutopolis and Effingham and Route 40 between the two cities was closed for days. The dam at June Lake failed. 



Know of any others? Let's add them to this list and share.....  Linda


Linda (Kralman) Lambert (ktlkate220@gmail.com)
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Last updated on Sunday, 16-August-2015