Alexander County/Illinois Genealogy Trails

A Post Office was established on April 23, 1883 at Idlewild and was changed to Tamms March 9, 1900. William Kenny by right of patent under the date August 1, 1838, came into possession of lands now known as the village of Tamms. In 1861 the land was sold to William E. Massey and John Abercrombie. Theodore Tamm bought John Abercrombie's section in 1888. Theodore Tamm came to the area in 1888 and became owner of the Chester and Keller Manufacturing Company. It was called North and South Idlewild at this time. Oscar Tamm, son of Theodore, donated the land in 1899 for the C. & E.I. Railroad. In 1904 Mr. Tamm deeded 81 acres to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and a train yard was built. It operated until 1975. In 1899 a depot was built so a person standing in the depot could see trains on both the C. & E.I. and the M. & O. tracks. It has been renovated and serves as City Hall now. The town of Tamms was named in 1900 when it was surveyed and mapped. In 1924 Tamms Community High School was built. It was destroyed by fire in 1953. It was rebuilt and about this time was integrated and became known as Alexander County Central.

Tamms was established as Idlewild in 1883 by Theodore Tamm of St. Louis, Mo.  The name was changed to Tamms in 1900 and named in honor of Theodore's son, Oscar T. Tamm.  It is located in the west half of Section 6, Township 15 South, Range 1 West.  Coordinates:  37º14'25"N 89º15'53"W.  The town was established along the Cairo & St. Louis Railroad (Mobile & Ohio).  A post office was established at Idlewild in 1883.  By the time the town became Tamms, the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad had come through the town in 1899.  The final "s" was added to thename "Tamm" in order to "avoid the semblance of profanity."  The town still exists and has a population of about 600.  A minimum-security prison opened there in 1995 and a maximum-security prison opened in 1998, but closed in 2013.  Illinois Route 127 goes by the town.  
--Researched by Dylan Hale for the Illinois History class at Egyptian High School, April 2013; submitted by Darrel Dexter, history teacher.

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