History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index


REV. ABRAHAM J. FRETZ, of Milton, New Jersey, to whom we are indebted for much of the information contained in these pages in reference to the early German settlers of Bucks county, was born in that county, February 7, 1849, a descendant on several lines from early immigrants to Upper Bucks, mostly of the Mennonite faith, who had fled from Germany and Switzerland in search of religious freedom.

John Fretz, with brothers Christian and Mark, (the last of whom died on the voyage) emigrated from near the city of Manheim, grand duchy of Baden, about 1725, and settled in Bucks. John settled on the “old Fretz Homestead,” in Bedminster township, still occupied by his descendant, Mahlon M. Fretz, where he died in 1772. He married Barbara Meyer, daughter of Hans Meyer, who came to America about 1720, and they were the parents of five children: John, Jacob, Christian, Abraham and Elizabeth. He married, second, Maria _______, and had children Mark, Henry and Barbara.

II. Christian Fretz, born in Bucks county, 1734, died there May 1, 1803, inherited the Bedminster homestead, added to it later by purchase, making it two hundred and sixty acres. He became a prominent man of his time in church and local affairs, adhering, like his ancestors, to the Mennonite faith and worshipping at the old Deep Run Meeting House. He married Barbara Oberholtzer, born in Bucks county, in 1737, daughter of Martin Oberholtzer, a native of Germany, born 1709, died April 5, 1744, in Bedminster. Christian and Barbara were the parents of twelve children: John, Agnes, Joseph, Henry, Martin, Jacob, Abraham, Isaac, Barbara, Christian, Mary and Elizabeth.

III. Abraham Fretz, born March 30, 1769, died March 7, 1844, lived and died on the old homestead in Bedminster. He was an honest, upright citizen, a conscientious and consistent Christian and was much esteemed in the community in which he lived. He was a deacon of the Deep Run Mennonite congregation. He married, April 30, 1793, Magdalena Kratz, daughter of John Kratz, of Hilltown, born August 30, 1776, died January 9, 1840, and granddaughter on the paternal side of John Valentine and Ann (Clemens) Kratz, and on the maternal side of Christian Meyer, an early immigrant from Switzerland. John Valentine Kratz was born in Germany, 1707, came to America 1727, settled in Montgomery county where he died in 1780. He married Ann Clemens, daughter of Gerhart Clemens, born in Germany, 1680, came to Montgomery county 1709, and died there. Abraham and Magdelena (Kratz) Fretz were the parents of ten children—Anna, Rebecca, Jacob, Christian, John, Isaac, Martin, Elizabeth, Barbara and Abraham.

IV. Martin Fretz, born September 12, 1808, died July 13, 1882, married Elizabeth Kratz, daughter of John and Catharine (Johnson) Kratz, and great-granddaughter of John Valentine Kratz, before mentioned, and they lived for at time in Montgomery county, later on a portion of the old homestead where he built a stone house in 1838, now occupied by Reuben Miller. He was a trustee of the old Mennonite congregation, but in the division of 1847 cast his lot with the new church and was one of the leading spirits in the founding and building of the New Mennonite church at Deep Run, and was one of its first ministers, serving in that capacity for about four years. In 1854 he removed to Sussex county, New Jersey, where he had purchased a mill property the autumn preceding, and which he conducted for three years, and then moved to a farm in Warren county, New Jersey. After a few years of retired life in Newton, New Jersey, he removed to Stillwater and engaged in mercantile business. In 1882 he returned to the farm in Warren county, and died there the following July. He was ordained a ruling elder of the Presbyterian church at Stillwater, and was highly respected by the people of that community. He married (second) a widow, Margaret E. Hill, nee Wintermute, on February 14, 1857. His children by the first marriage were Mary, Magdalena, Catherine, Leah, Elizabeth, John, Anna, Theodore, Abraham, Martha, Edwin and Albert, and by the second, Alva, Lucilla, and David.

Rev. Abraham J. Fretz, the subject of this sketch, is a son of Martin and Elizabeth (Kratz) Fretz, and was born in Bucks county, February 7, 1849. He attended the public schools of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey, and the Newton Academy, and in 1867 entered the Newton Collegiate Institute at Newton, New Jersey, to prepare himself for the ministry. In 1868 he taught school in Sussex county, and in September, 1870, entered Wadsworth College, Ohio, and in 1876 took a course in the Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, Pennsylvania. He had been licensed as an exhorter in the Methodist Episcopal church at Newton, October 18, 1869, and as a local preacher, March 7, 1870. In 1872 he was appointed pastor of the Middle Smithfield charge in Monroe and Pike counties, Pennsylvania, and was instrumental in adding many new members to the church. He has since filled the following pastorates: Stockholm, New Jersey, Unionville and Westown, New York, Hamburg, Ogdensburg, Hurdtown and Hopatcong, New Jersey. In 1880 he located permanently at Milton, New Jersey, building a house and engaging in farming in addition to serving as pastor at Longwood, Berkshire, Dodge Mine and West Milford, New Jersey. He was ordained a deacon in 1882 and elder in 1888. He held the office of town clerk from 1890 to 1902, and was elected to the office of justice of the peace in 1902, and has since filled that office. Mr. Fretz has taken a great interest in the local history and genealogy of the early German settlement, and has published numerous family histories, among them being the history of the families of Fretz, Kratz, Wismer, Funk, Moyer, Stover, Rosenberger, Oberholtzer, Nash, Beidler, and Headley. He married, November 14, 1877, Elizabeth C. Headley, born in Morris county, New Jersey, in 1853, daughter of Joseph W. and Almeda (Chamberlain) Headley, and a descendant of Leonard Headley, who died at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1683. Mr. and Mrs. Fretz have been the parents of three children: Mary Headley, born 1878; Joseph and Ervin, who are deceased.

Text taken from page 401

Davis, William W. H., A. M. History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed November  2002 as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project,

Published November 2002 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb

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