Once upon a time
As local legend goes, one Griffin Tipsword came to this part of Illinois and took up his abode with the Kickapoo Indians. At this time these Indians were peaceable and indifferent to the coming and the struggle of a white man. Tipsword was a white man by birth and an Indian by adoption. He was a pioneer, a missionary preacher, hunter and medicine man among the Indians. Our Altamont Indians no doubt got their name from Tipsword's association with his friends, the Indians. Tipsword's family name was Souards. He called himself Tipsword after coming to Illinois. Griffin died in 1845 and was buried on the banks of Wolff Creek, leaving three sons, John, Isaac and Thomas, who have left many descendants in the Altamont area today.
The name Altamont, like the name Mound Township, was bestowed upon it by J.W. Conlogue because of the elevation or "mound" which lies to the northwest.
Altamont, the "City of Plain", was laid out in Mound Township, the richest and best township in Effingham County - being mostly prairies and farm ground - slightly rolling along the streams, Big Creek, Coon Creek and Second Creek. Mound Township was settled early by German immigrants coming from the "Faderland" on the banks of the Rhine by way of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The name Altamont, like the name Mound Township, was bestowed upon it by J.W. Conlogue because of the elevation or "mound" which lies to the northwest. The first part of the word meaning altitude, the latter part mount or mound. Conlogue was a romantic, thus naming his town from Latin.
In early History of Effingham County edited by William Henry Perrin in 1883, he wrote: "The name of Mound Township was bestowed upon it in consequence of what is known as the neighborhood of Blue Mound, a slight elevation of Section 8, which is nearly all a kind of mound, the apex being in the center of the section, and having an altitude of seventy-eight feet above the bed of the Vandalia Railroad, which passes near it. Recently, the Government has erected a signal observatory upon it, some seventy-five to one hundred feet in height, from the top of which one may look across the States of Missouri and Arkansas and see the cowboys watching their herds on the prairies of Texas."
On the bank of the small creek just south of what is now Altamont (Southmore Heights) there had been established a little trading center called Montville. The postmaster was G.H. Milleville and in 1871 the post office was moved to this new place called Altamont. Altamont was first organized as a town in 1871.