Henry Gottlieb Jockisch was born on October 25, 1832 in the German state of Sachsen (Saxony) to Karl Gotthelf Jockisch and Marie Elizabeth Jacob Jockisch.In 1834 the entire family immigrated to the U.S.; Henry was two years old at the time. They went to Beardstown in Cass County, Illinois. Beardstown is where Henry met and married my great-great grandmother, Louisa Eckhardt. Louisa had been born Sept. 13, 1833 in Ilsdorf, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, to Johannes and Anna Rohn Eckhardt. She and her brother George immigrated to the U.S. in 1853 (Other family members may have also immigrated, but I have not been able to track them). On June 13, 1856, Louisa married Henry Gottlieb Jockisch.

At the time they were in their late teens, although Illinois was predominantly white, it had small but significant Black and mulatto population (5,540 in the 1850 census). Five young Black male laborers shared a residence in Beardstown, where they had moved to work. Three years previously, Illinois had adopted a new constitution included a provision, passed overwhelmingly as a separate measure by voters, that the state General Assembly act to prohibit the emigration of free African-Americans into the state and to bar slaveholders from bringing slaves to free them. Most whites in Illinois who opposed slavery favors deportation of free Blacks to the Caribbean or Liberia. In 1853, the state passed a law making it a crime for any Black person from another state to stay in Illinois more than 10 days. African Americans who lived in Illinois, especially in Chicago and in St. Clair County (to the south of Cass County) vigorously opposed this new law. Although the Jockisches may have given it little thought, "Black Codes" in Illinois directly linked race with the right to own property.

In 1868, Henry G. and Louisa moved to Blue Mound township, selling the 40 acres of land in Beardstown Henry had inherited from his father to purchase land in Blue Mound. (There, one of the c’s dropped gradually out of the spelling of Jockisch, becoming Jokisch. For consistency, I have retained the original spelling here.) By 1874 the Jockisches owned 160 acres on Blue Mound. On the bottom of the excerpt of the 1874 plat map of Blue Mound township to the right, you can see the location of the Jockisch farm. Louisa’s brother, George Eckhardt and his wife Sarah, also moved to Blue Mound township, owning a farm of 80 acres to the north of the Jockisch farm. On the plat map excerpt, you can also see Sleeter farmland and the German Methodist Episcopal Church. The dark rectangle near the top of the map is the town of Boody, and the diagonal line is the railroad. (A bit of the history of Boody appears on the Sleeter-Fahrenhorst page; William Henry Sleeter had died two years before the Jockisches arrived in Boody, and Amelia Fahrenhorst Sleeter left shortly afterward.)

Other members of the Jockisch family periodically came to Blue Mound township to work for a while, and one nephew (Henry A.) and his family moved there. Most of the Jockisches, however, stayed in Cass County, where there is now a Jockisch Cemetery. There was apparently quite a bit of visiting of family members back and forth between Boody (Blue Mound township) and Beardstown, according to various articles in the local Decatur newspapers.

The Jockisches became successful grain farmers; wheat was particularly profitable during and right after the Civil War. They were also active in Zion German Methodist Episcopal Church that William Henry Sleeter had helped to found. For example, Henry served as a Church trustee and member of the committee that planned the new church building. When the church was seeking donations for the new building in 1886, Henry Jockisch, described in the Decatur Saturday Herald as one of Boody’s “well-to-do farmers,” made a generous donation.

Henry G. Jockisch died at home, at the age of 65 on May 29, 1898. His 160 acre estate was valued at $15,000. Henry left the property to Louisa "for life," and at her death, it was to be divided equally among the five children.

Louisa moved in with daughter Olivia, who had married George Henry Zimmerman of Boody. In 1900, Lousia was living with them and their family. In 1910, she was living in Decatur on West Decatur Street with recently-widowed daughter Lydia Sleeter (my great-grandmother) and some of the Sleeter offspring. By then, other family members, including the Zimmermans, and Charles and Pauline Jockisch Sleeter, were also living on the same street. Then, when Lydia relocated to Iowa to be with one of her daughters, Louisa moved in with daughter Pauline and Charles W. Sleeter, where she stayed until she died in 1922 due to “complications of old age,” as it was put in her obituary. My grandmother Mamie Ross Sleeter spent her adolescence and early adulthood in this same neighborhood, and was friends with offspring of her generation. In a book in which she recorded gifts, she referred to Louise Jockisch as “Grandma Yokisch” (her spelling reflecting the German pronunciation.) I am struck by the close community that developed among these and other German families of Boody.

Even though she moved away from Boody to Decatur following her husband’s death, Louisa remained active in the Zion German Methodist Episcopal Church. Henry B. and Louisa Jockisch were buried in the Zion cemetery; their headstone appears to the left.

Descendents of Henry G. and Louisa Jockisch were:

  • Lydia E. (b. 1859, d. bef 1922), married William Phillip Sleeter
  • Bertha A. (b. Jan. 1860, d. unknown), married a Zimmerman
  • Olivia (b. 1862, d. unknown), married George Henry Zimmerman
  • Pauline Minda (b. Oct. 5, 1865, d. 1949), married Charles Wesley Sleeter
  • Edwin W. (b. July 10, 1868, d. March 18, 1937), married Celia M. Williams


Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois. 1892 Chicago: Biographical Review Publishing Co.

Black Codes. (1996). Illinois History Teacher. Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Retrieved April 2, 2010 from

Funeral of Henry Jokisch. (1898, June 1). Daily Review, Decatur, IL.

Hazzerd, H. (1882, June 15). Happenings at Boody. Decatur Weekly Republican.

Mrs. Louisa Jokisch. (1922, March 14). Decatur Review.

Perrin, W. H. (1882). History of Cass County, Illinois. Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co. Historical Publishers.

Pistorius, J. A. (Ed.) (1990). The Pistorius family memory book. Unpublished, original located in the Zion Chapel Church library, Boody, IL.

(get title) (1886, April 24). Saturday Herald. Decatur, IL.

Uhler, C. (1909). The Sleeter-Jockisch families. In Book of the Uhlers and their related families (p. 129-135). (with additions until his death in 1943). Unpublished manuscript

U.S. Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920..

U.S. General Land Office Records 1796-1907. Provo, UT. Retrieved May 27, 2008 from

Will probated (1898, July 28). Decatur Weekly Republican, p. 7.