|Southernmost Illinois History||
Illinois territory was separated from Indiana territory in 1809. A huge Johnson County was quickly whittled into several others by 1818 when Illinois became a state. Pulaski and Massac didn't have separate county lines until 1843. Click the map for more.
The first Johnson county seat was Elvira, northeast of Buncombe. You might find a marker along a fence row, but nothing else to denote this once-thriving community. It's a pleasant field bordered on the north by a large bluff that runs all across this part of the state. A group of pioneers settled it in 1806. A historian noted "a good spring still runs on the property." The spring and the bluff to deflect a bit of north winter wind may have influenced the location choice.
A log courthouse was built there in 1809, followed by a frame building of unplaned lumber five years later by a carpenter who was paid $175. A jail cost $500. The post office, first called Johnson Court House, was closed, then reopened between 1869 and 1907.
The county was named for Colonel Richard Menton Johnson of the Kentucky Militia who later became the Vice President of the United States under President Martin Van Buren. The name Elvira may have come from the name of the wife of Gov. Shadrach Bond.
Info from "Ghost Towns Of Southern Illinois" by Glenn J. Sneed.
Elvira is found in mapping programs but appears to be buried in forest and farmland. Two interstates are less than 10 miles away. Draper's Bluff is less than a mile away. (Wildcat Bluff near Vienna is shown below.) The Tunnel Hill hiking biking trail runs north from Vienna.