FRETZ, Johannes

Male 1704 - 1772  (68 years)


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  • Name FRETZ, Johannes 
    Born 2 Feb 1704  Haguenau, Alsace, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Biography


    • BIOGRAPHY:
      The brothers John, and Christian Fretz, together with a third brother (name unknown, and who died on the voyage), emigrated from near the City of Manheim, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany, formerly known as the Palatinate, or Rheinish Prussia.
      They were of German origin, as is quite evident from the fact that they wrote and spoke the German language, and were connected with a distinctively German church. That they were of German origin, is also evident from the fact that on the opposite side of the Rhine, in the province of Alsatia, there are to this day, living where they have lived for the past two or three centuries, many Fretz's of an old Alsatian Stock, who claim they are of German origin, ''as all true Alsatians are".
      The Province of Alsatia was annexed to France in 1648, prior to that time it was always under German Dominion, and while the French language was exclusively taught in the schools, the language spoken is a German dialect, with decided variations in different localities.
      At what port the Fretz ancestors landed, or the exact date of their arrival into this country is not known, but may have been between the years of 1710 and 1720. It is said that they came to this country during what was known as "the last persecution." They were given the alternative of connecting themselves with the state church, or leave the country, and they chose rather than to give up their religious liberty to leave the "Fatherland," the land of their birth, and the homes of their kindred and friends, the graves of their ancestors, and all the hallowed associations of the home and country of their nativity, and found for themselves a home in a strange and far-off land where they could worship God "under their own vine and fig tree," according to the dictates of their own conscience without fear of molestation.
      Undoubtedly they had heard that America afforded a refuge for the oppressed and granted religious liberty to all its subjects, and naturally enough they turned their steps hither, where they too, might enjoy liberty of conscience. And thus are we, as their descendants, citizens of this great liberty loving country. How we, of today, should prize this liberty! Think what our Ancestors sacrificed to enjoy it. How they left their native land, a country established many hundreds of years, to seek a home in the new world, in the wilds of America.
      They came about thirty-five years after the charter was granted, and the great seal of England, with the signature of Charles II. was affixed, and William Penn became the proprietor of Pennsylvania. They were here about thirty-five years before the French and Indian war, in which George Washington, was a British Colonel. Our first ancestor, John Fretz, slept beneath the sod before the fires of the Revolution were kindled, or about three years before the battle of Lexington.
      They came when the country was but sparsely settled, when the inconveniences were great, and when the equally dangerous red man infested the land. They were still living during the period when some of the great subjects which eventually led to the war of the Revolution were being agitated, and their children were settled with families during the bloody struggle for Independence, and although being non-combatants, they were true and loyal to the American cause, and aided it as best they could, without compromising their religious faith by bearing arms.
      Our ancestors and their immediate descendants were Mennonites, who worshiped at Deep Run, Bucks Co., Pa., first in the old log church, which was probably built in 1746, and later in the old stone church, built in 1766, and which stood for over a hundred years. They no doubt aided in erecting this church, both by contributing of their means and labor, and from it they were carried to their last earthly resting place in the cemetery adjoining. There may their ashes rest in peace until the trump of Gabriel shall awake the dead to come forth, and obtain the inheritance of the faithful.
      Which of the two brothers was the elder is not known as no records of the birth of either have been found.
      Christian, settled in Tinicum township, Bucks Co., Pa., along the Tinicum Creek, on what is now known as Heaney's Mill.
      It is not known where John Fretz at first settled. He afterward settled in what was then Plumstead township, but now Bedminster, on what is known as the Old Fretz Homestead, situated about one mile North East of Bedminsterville, now owned by Ely Fretz, and occupied by his son, Mahlon M. Fretz.
      The homestead originally consisted of 230 acres of land, which John Fretz purchased of Bartholomew Longstreth in 1737 or 1738, for which he paid 106 pounds. The release being given in the latter year in the month of May. The tract when purchased had a house, barn, and other buildings, but was surrounded on all sides by vacant and unimproved wild land. A veritable wilderness. The homestead now includes the whole or part of four farms - viz, Samuel High's 69 acres, Ely Fretz's 57 acres, Isaac L. Fretz's 44 acres, and Reuben Miller's 60 acres. John Fretz was a weaver by trade, and is known as "Weaver John." Of his public services nothing is known of especial interest further than that he was one of the committee to form the new township of Bedminster in 1741.
      He was twice married, but the maiden name of neither wife is known. By his first wife Barbara, he is known to have had five children, and by his second wife, Maria, three. There may have been more, but if there were they died young.
      John Fretz died in 1772, probably in February. His last will and testament, was dated January 29, 1772, and was probated on the third day of March of the same year, which shows that he died between the two dates given. The provisions of the will were that his son Christian should have the farm, and pay 800 pounds, and each of the children were to have equal shares, except the sum of 60 pounds which was to be distributed among the children of his first wife, and which came from their Grandfather, (probably on the mother's side.)
      To the widow was willed a 100 pounds of which she was to receive the interest as long as she remained his widow. She was to have the house in which George White lived at that time.
      The last Will and Testament of John Fretz, as an old and rather peculiar document, will no doubt be interesting reading, and of sufficient importance to warrant its insertion in the history of the connection.
    Will
    • In the name of God Amen. I, John Fretz, of the Township of Bedminster in the County of Bucks in the Province of Pennsylvania, Weaver being sick in body, but of sound memory blessed be God unto this day the twenty-ninth day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-two make this as my last Will and Testament in manner and form following:
      First of all it is my Will that when it shall please God to call me out of this world my body shall be decently buried, and my soul I recommend to God my Savior.
      Secondly, I Will that all my just debts shall be paid carefully out of my estate, and rest disposed of as followeth, that is to say, I give unto my beloved wife Maria, one hundred pounds lawful money to be paid out of my estate and the said hundred pounds shall be put on interest, and my wife shall have the interest yearly during her natural life, or so long she remains my widow, and if she shall want any of the principal of the said hundred pounds so that the interest would not be sufficient for her yearly maintenance, it shall be allowed to her sufficient to maintain her during her natural life, or so long she remains my widow, and if any is remaining of the said hundred pounds after her decease; or if she marries again, the remainder shall be equally divided amongst my children in equal shares, and it is my Will that my wife shall live in the house wherein George White lives now, during her natural life or so long she remains my widow, and my Executors shall finish the house off sufficiently and build a good stable to the house to put her cow in and her hay, and my son Christian Fretz shall let her have so much meadow hay as to give two cows, and my said son Christian shall give unto my said wife yearly eleven bushels of good winter grain half wheat and half rye, and to sow yearly one acre of Buckwheat, and to plow a half acre of land for Indian corn, and to plow and sow a half acre for flax yearly during her natural life, or so long she remains my widow, and my wife shall have a row of apple trees in my orchard, the fourth row from the barn, and my wife shall have to choose a cow from my cows which she please, and her bed and clothes and the furniture belonging to her bed, and my wife shall have one iron pot, and two pails, and all her household goods which she brought to me she shall take again, and my said wife shall have liberty to cut firewood on my place sufficient during her natural life or so long as she remains my widow. The garden by the house of George White shall be for her during her natural life, and it is further my Will that all my children shall have equal shares - except sixty pounds lawful money shall be paid unto the children of my first wife out of my estate which money came by their Grandfather, and the said sixty pounds shall be equally divided amongst my said children of my first wife. And as all my children which are married have had fifty pounds apiece it is my Will that my son Mark shall have fifty pounds likewise to make him equal with the rest, and my son Henry shall have so much as my children from my first wife except what is above excepted, and except the fifty pounds which is paid unto my children when married.
      And it is further my Will that my daughter Barbara shall have one hundred pounds lawful money out of my estate, and a cow, and a bed, all which she shall have when she comes to the age of eighteen years, and my son Henry shall have his share when he comes to the age of twenty-one years - and no sooner. And it is further my Will that my son Christian Fretz shall have all my lands to him, his Heirs and assigns, and he shall pay eight hundred pounds lawful money for my said land or plantation, and to have the half of the grain in the ground with the place, and he is to pay the Legatees as the Will directs, and he, the said Christian fulfill all the articles mentioned in this Will to my wife accordingly and my son Christian shall have always a equal share with the rest of my children.
      He, the said Christian, my son, shall pay unto John Fretz my son, and Jacob Fretz, and Jacob Kulp, my son-in-law, for my daughter Elizabeth, her share fifteen months after my decease, and unto my son Abraham two years and three months after my decease, and unto my son Marcks, three years and three months after my decease, and the said Barbara, my daughter which is mentioned in this Will she shall have no more of my estate as the hundred pounds, and the cow, and bed, as above mentioned, and Lastly, I do ordain, constitute, appoint my sons Christian and John Fretz, to be my Executors of this my Last Will and Testament, whom I do empower authorize to sell all my Estate except what is in this Will excepted and to pay all my debts and the Legacies aforesaid in my name, utterly revoking and disannulling all other and former Wills or Testaments and Executors by me before this time made or named Ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have to this presents set my hand and seal this the twenty-ninth day of January in the year 1772.

      Sealed signed pronounced
      declare by this presents this
      as my last Will and Testament John Fretz.
      in the presence of us,
      Daniel Kratz,
      Jacob Kolb.

      His children in the order of their birth were, viz:
      John, Jacob, Christian, Abraham, Elizabeth, Mark, Henry, and Barbara.
    _UID 1E6ECD6A11E4BA44B608473FE86E10238324 
    Died Feb 1772  Bedminster Township, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I1212  Milton Families
    Last Modified 5 Feb 2006 

    Family MEYER, Barbara,   b. 1710,   d. 12 May 1799  (Age 89 years) 
    Married 1727 
    Children 
     1. FRETZ, John,   b. Mar 1730,   d. 4 May 1826  (Age ~ 96 years)
     2. FRETZ, Jacob,   b. 1732, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    +3. FRETZ, Christian,   b. 1734, Bedminster Township, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 May 1803, Tinicum Township, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years)
     4. FRETZ, Abraham,   b. 1736, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     5. FRETZ, Elizabeth,   b. 19 Jul 1739, Bedminster Township, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 24 Apr 2021 
    Family ID F370  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Reference: Moyer Family, by A. J. Fretz, 1896.

      John Fretz was a weaver by trade and was known as "Weaver John." Of his public services nothing is known of special interest, further than that he was one of the committee to form the new township of Bedminster in 1741. John and his wife, Barbara, and their immediate descendants were Mennonites and worshipped at Deep Run, first in the old log church, built about 1746, and later in the old stone church built about 1766, and which stood for over 100 years. John's last will and testament was dated January 29, 1772, and was probated on March 3 of the same year, which shows he died between the two dates."

  • Sources 
    1. [S7] Fretz Family History, Pages 13 - 17.

    2. [S7] Fretz Family History, Pages 17-20.