This past Sunday my family attended a reunion of the Bockhold Family at the Bockhold’s centennial farm in Quincy, Illinois. The designation of “centennial farm” is granted by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Successful applicants must own an agricultural property that has “been owned by the same family of lineal or collateral descendants for at least 100 years.”
The reunion was for all descendants of my grandparents, Frank and Laura (Huber) Bockhold, who had nine children. Their youngest daughter, and only surviving child, was unable to attend. But the descendants of the other siblings carried on the tradition, just the same. It was great to see so many cousins. Attendees came from California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and of course, Illinois. I’m sure there’s a state I didn’t mention!
But if you know me, you know I MUST tell you about the history of this farm. My great great grandfather, Bernard Bockhold, was the original owner.
Bernard was born January 10, 1831 to Joseph and Elisabetha (Hölscher) Bockhold in a small German farming community called Isingort. This small place was part of the Prussian province, Westphalia. Today Isingort no longer exists. Legden would be the town that now encompasses this small area in the modern German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Bernard was the son of a wood shoemaker and he came to this country sometime before 1859, when he married Anna Maria Büker at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Quincy, Illinois. They had no children, as she died less than two months later. Bernard quickly married Katharina Anna Dieker on January 17, 1860, right after he had turned twenty-nine. It is their first-born child, Henry, that the clan at the reunion descend from. At that time, Bernard was making ends meet as a shoemaker in Quincy. Bernard and Katharina spent almost ten years together, producing five children, before Bernard once again found himself widowed. With young children to care for, he quickly married for the third time. The new wife’s name was Christina Vogeding and they had at least five more children together.
But enough about wives and children. After spending a few years in Quincy, Bernard finally moved to rural Melrose Township and eventually purchased 120 acres of land in 1875. He had lived in Melrose since at least 1868. But 1875 was the beginning of this centennial farm. Thanks to my cousin and his family, the tradition continues!
 Legden Katholische Kirche (Legden, Kreis Ahaus, Westfalen), Taufen, 1821–1857, p. 69, no. 1, Johann Bernard Bockhold; Family History Library microfilm no. 858,928, Salt Lake City, Utah.
 St. Boniface Catholic Church (Quincy, Illinois), Marriages vol. 2, p. 11, entry 24; St. Boniface rectory, Quincy, Illinois. The parish is now closed and records are stored at the Diocese in Springfield, Illinois.
 St. Boniface Catholic Church, Funerals, vol. 2, p. 13, entry 66.
 St. Boniface Catholic Church, Marriages vol. 2, p. 14, entry 2.
 1860 U.S. census, Adams County, Illinois, population schedule, Quincy, ward 6, p. 324 (penned), dwelling 2349, family 2521, Bernard Bokholt; digital image, Ancestry.com.
 St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (Quincy, Illinois), Deaths, 1862–1945, p. 4, Catharina Buchholdt née Dieker; church office, Quincy, Illinois.
 St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (Quincy, Illinois), Weddings, 1861–1945, p. 3, Bucchold-Vogeding; church office, Quincy, Illinois.
 St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (Quincy, Illinois), Baptisms, 1861–1929; church office, Quincy, Illinois; church office, Quincy, Illinois.
 Adams County, Illinois, Deeds 86:475, Bishop to Bockholt; Recorder of Deeds, Quincy, Illinois.
 St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Baptisms, 1861–1929, p. 10, Johannes Franciscus Bockholt.