Emilie, Wilhelmina and Dora Gretsch

These three Gretsch sisters, Emilie, Wilhelmina and Dora had the same father, Jacob Gretsch.
Jacob Gretsch was the son of Maria Dorothea Wild and Casimir Gretsch.
Jacob was the third son of the couples six children.
Jacob came to America in 1852.

After the death of each of his wives, Jacob married again.
Hence, each of his daughters had a different mother.
Emilie’s mother was Rosina Maria Blondina Artz.|
Wilhelmina’s mother was Anna Artz was the sister of Emilie’s mother.
Bertha Wintermantel was the mother of Dora Gretsch.

To learn their stories read the time line below.

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Dora, the youngest sister, stands in the back row next to her younger brother Ralph.
Emilie, Jacob’s oldest child, sits on the far left in the stripped skirt.
Wilhelmina sits between Herman and Karl Wintermantel, her mother’s brothers.
Circa 1890..

Please note the various spellings of Emilie’s name in the following time line.
Records show that over the years, the spelling of her name alternated between
“Emilie” and “Emily” .

It is interesting to note that the American poet, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), signed her name “Emilie” to the manuscript of a poem written in her own hand. Apparently, Emilie Dickinson often spelt her name this way when writing letters. It is intriguing to think that our Emilie Gretsch and Emilie Dickinson had this same flexibility in common.

In 1883, court papers at the time of Jacob Gretsch’s death refer to his daughter as Emily Gretsch.
In 1892, guardianship papers for William, Dora and Ralph Gretsch, refer to their sister as Emilie Gretsch.
In 1894, the name Emily Gretsch appears on mortgage papers when the family home at 970 Decatur Street was purchased.
In 1917, “Emilie” is the spelling she herself chose to use in her article about the history of the Gretsch family in America.
In May of 1922, Emily wrote her name, Emily Gretsch, as she signed an affidavit for her cousin Max O. Jordan.
In 1936, she wrote her will and signed her name ” Emily Gretsch”.

1775
September 4 Casimir Gretsch, Jacob’s father was born in Simmern.

1788
August 1 Jacob’s mother, Maria Dorothea Wild was born in Orenstein.
She was the eighth of ten children.

Her mother’s name was Maria Elisabeth Klein. Dorothea’s father Karl Wild was a “goldsmith”, a jewelry designer. Dorothea came from a long line of jewelry makers who practiced their craft in the world famous gem city of Oberstien.

Years later Dorothea’s son Jacob Gretsch would get a scholarship from the Prussian government to remit his school fees so that he could study among other subjects, metal work and engraving in Trier. (see below 1842)

Soon after his mother’s death, Jacob came to America. He was the only one of her children to travel so far.

Emilie was born in Brooklyn in 1856. In this period, Jacob worked as an engraver. During the American civil war his designs embellished swords for Tiffany and Co, and other eminent jewelers.
(see below 1860)

He had certainly carried with him to America, the skills of his mother’s family in Oberstein.

1793
January 21 Louis XVI was beheaded in Paris.

Emilie Gretsch wrote in 1917 ” Casimir Gretsch was born about 1770. After his marriage he resided in the village of Simmern, Rheinish-Prussia, Germany, where all his children were born. It was while on a visit to the city of Paris, that he was present with Louis XVI was beheaded, and witnessed the execution. There is a tradition that he stood so close to the guillotine, that some of the monarch’s blood spattered on his shirt, and that the bloodstains were never removed from his garment”

Casimir Gretsch was Emilie’s, Wilhelmina’s and Dora’s grandfather.

This story along with a longer history of the family appeared in 1917 in Schlegel’s German-American Families in the United States.
For more information about this book and to read the entire essay which Emilie wrote in 1917 see the library section of this website.

Casimir’s father, Johann George Gretsch was born in Simmern and came from a family of turners (lathe workers) and day laborers. His mother Fredericka Magdelene Kuss was born in Monzingen, a small town on the Nahr River, just south of Simmern. Her family had been for many years butchers which was at the time a very respected and honorable profession.

Johann Georg Gretsch and Friederica Kuss were married in Simmern on May 15, 1770.

Casimir Gretsch was born in September 4, 1775 in his mother’s home town of Monzingen.

He was named after his godfather, Casimir Kuss, a relative of his mother’s who was a himself a butcher.

Casimir himself under the tutelage of his mother’s family became a master butcher.

Records show ( see Ernst Siegel: “Handwerk, Handel, Gewerbe in Simmern” 1964 Rhein-Hunsrueck-Kalender) that in the 1800’s not only sheep and sheep herders traveled to Paris but also butchers. Such an undertaking would last about 6 weeks. It is quite possible that young Casimir as part of his apprenticeship traveled to Paris at the time of the French Revolution.
Perhaps, he did stand nearby at the execution of Louis XVI but most assuredly, he stood nearby at the slaughter of many animals.

1815
June 4 Maria Dorothea Wild and Casimir Gretsch were married in Simmern.

They were married just days before the Battle of Waterloo.

Most likely, the couple had met in Monzingen. Casimir was born in Monzingen and his mother’s family was there. Maria Dorothea probably travled to Monzingen for the marriage of her brother Johan Karl. He married Maria Eva Philippine Rettig from Monzingen in 1812.

This was Casimir’s second marriage. His first wife Elizabeth Auler died in April, 1814.
Casimir had two daughters from his first marriage.
Juliana Catharina who was 10 years old and Marie Elise who was 5 years old when their father remarried.

1821
November 6 Emilie’s mother Rosina Maria Blondina Artz, born in the city of Treves (Trier) Rhenish-Prussia, Germany. There she was educated and reared to womanhood.

(However, in Emilie’s death certificate her mother is recorded as Anna Artz. Anna was her mother’s sister who took care of Emilie when her mother died.)

1824
August 21 Emilie’s, Wilhelmina’s and Dora’s father Jacob Gretsch born in Simmern, Germany Son of Casimir and Dorothea Wild Gretsch.
He was the third son of the couple’s six children. Only four children would grow to adulthood.
Jacob would travel the furthest from home. He was the first member of the family to come to America. Many of his nieces and nephews would follow him to Brooklyn.

1842

Please note!
In September of 2001, the documents below were sent by Lynne Francisco Swarz, great granddaughter of Jacob Gretsch to Sally Gretsch Coulson. Sally, also a great granddaughter of Jacob Gretsch, scanned the ancient documents and sent them by email to Gretchen (nee Gretsch) Elsner-Sommer. Gretchen sent the scanned documents onto Doris Wesner in Simmern, Germany, Jacob’s hometown. Doris transcribed and translated them.

January 17

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Subj:    kein Betref
Date:    10/17/2001 12:41:31 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From:   Doris.Wesner@t-online.de (Doris.Wesner@T-Online.de)
To:     Elsnersom@aol.com

1)
Dem Jacob GRETSCH, Sohn des hiesigen bürgerlichen Einwohners Casimir GRETSCH,
bin ich gerne bereit der Wahrheit und Pflicht gemäß zu bezeugen,
daß er während des Jahres, in welchem ich an der hiesigen höhern Bürgerschule interimistisch
als Lehrer arbeitete, in jeder Hinsicht als einen der besten Schüler sich
bewährt hat. Die guten Anlagen und Fähigkeiten, welche er besitzt, hat er durch ununterbrochenen, stets lobenswerthen Fleiß treulich auszubilden und zu fördern
gesucht, so daß er in allen Unterrichtsgegenständen recht erfreuliche
Fortschritte gemacht hat. Hinsichtlich seines Betragens hat derselbe sich nie
etwas zu Schulden kommen lassen, sondern stets gehorsam und willig, bescheiden
und sittsam sich benommen, so daß ihm der hiesige Stadtrath im Jahre 1839 auf
Grund des Zeugnisses, wodurch ich ihn damals nur empfehlen und wegen der Armuth
und großen Dürftigkeit seines Vaters der Unterstützung würdig halten konnte, den
Erlaß des Schulgeldes bewilligte. Und so kann [ich] denselben auch jetzt bei
seinem Gesuch um eine Freistelle an der Gewerbschule zu Trier als einen fähigen,
fleißigen und sittsamen Schüler empfehlen und ihm von Herzen wünschen, daß er
von Einer Königl. Hochlöblichen Behörde der Unterstützung würdig anfunden werden
möge, damit er, da sein Vater in sehr bedrängten Vermögens-Verhältnissen lebend
kaum die Bedürftnisse seines Hauswesens befriedigen und ihn mit Nichts

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2)
Nichts unterstützen kann, durch Höchstderen gnädige Bewilligung zu seinem Ziele
gelangen und später seinen armen Eltern eine Stütze werden könne.
Dieses ist der herzliche Wunsch seines früheren Lehrers.
Simmern den 27ten December 1841
FC(?) NELSON
Pfarramts-Candidat und Vicarius des hiesigen H. Superintendenten BACK.
Die Unterschrift des Herrn Predigtamts-Candidaten NELSON wird andurch beglaubigt
und zwar wegen Armuth des GRETSCH stempel frey.
Simmern 17 Januar 1842
Der Bürgermeister
KAISER
ZÖR…

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3)
Zur Beglaubigung der vorderseitigen Unterschrift der Herr Bürgermeister KAISER
von hier.
Simmern, den 17ten Januar 1842.
Der Landräthliche Commissar, Regierungs-Referendar.

Liebe Gretchen,
Unfortunately I do not have the time to translate it now in detail. Have to go
to France tomorrow to attend a friend’s burial. Will be back at the beginning of
october.
Very short summary of the three pages: Jacob’s parents were rather poor and not
able to pay the school fees. The municipal council of Simmern paid for him
because of being a good student at the “Höhere Bürgerschule” in Simmern (kind of “Gymnasium” = College?). His former teacher NELSON testifies his diligence and
good behaviour hoping he will be successful at the “Gewerbeschule” in Trier and
later to be able to support his poor parents.
Viele Grüße
Doris

February 1

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1842-1845
Jacob was a student at the “Koenigliche Provinzial-Gewerbeschule” in Trier.

It is interesting to speculate about just how much Jacob Gretsch knew about Karl Marx when Jacob first came to Trier. They were both young men, Jacob was 18, Marx was 24.

Perhaps, knew nothing about Marx when he first left Simmern. Surely, he learned more about him as Jocob settled into his new life in Trier.

Karl Marx was born in Trier on May 5, 1818.
“Marx was descended from a large family of Talmudists and rabbis spread all over Europe. His uncle Samuel was a rabbi in Trier until 1827. In 1808 when Napoleon I, demanded permanent family names also for Jews, Samuel took the name of Marx.

In 1835, Marx left Trier to study at Bonn
Karl Marx and his Contemporaries, Guide book to the permanent exhibition in the Karl Marx House, Trier.

Although, Karl Marx himself no longer lived in Trier by the time Jacob arrived, Jacob was no doubt aware of the ferment that Marx and his contemporizes were causing across the region.

Karl Marx’s family still lived in Trier when Jacob arrived. Karl no doubt returned often to visit his fiancée Jenny von Westphalen whom he would marry in 1843.

1842
In 1842, Karl Marx began his work as a political journalist at the Rheinishche Zeitung in Cologne.
“The declared object of this newspaper was to defend the interest of the large Rheinland middle class i.e. to safeguard the code Napoleon and the principle of equality for all citizens before the law, and ultimately to bring about the economic and political unification of Germany.”

October In 1842 Marx became political editor for the Rheinishche Zeitung .

1843
early The Rheinishche Zeitung is suppressed by the Prussian state censorship because of its radical democratic tendencies.

June 19 Karl Marx married Jenny von Westphalen who also lived in Trier.

October Karl and Jenny leave Germany for Paris.

1848
March 3 War between Denmark and Schleswig Holstein.
Denmark wanted to Annex Duchy of Schleswig. Frankfurt Parliament intervened and commissioned Prussia to send Federal Troops.

August 28 Evacuation of both Prussian and Danish troops, Armistice of Malno

During this year of revolution across Europe, there is no record of just where Jacob was living.

1849

November 26 In Trier, Jacob signed a birth certificate for his daughter Maria Rosina Doothea

1850

February 9 Emilie’s parents, Jacob and Rosina Maria Blondina Artz were married in Trier.

July 22 Jacob’s mother, Maria Dorothea Wild Gretsch died in Simmern.

1851
February 12 Jacob’s infant daughter Rosina died in Trier.

December 15 Jacob singed a death certificate for his stillborn daughter in Trier.

N.B. Emilie writes in her history of the Gretsch family that Jacob fled the country in 1848 and “took up his abode in Belgium where he remained until 1852 when he came to the United States.”

However, wedding, birth and death documents place Jacob in Trier in this interim period.
Many German revolutionaries of 1848 did go to Belgium after the failure of their cause.
Perhaps, Jacob identified with that group especially after he came to America.
Maybe that was the story which Jacob told and his daughter. This was the story that was written down.
Records seem to indicate otherwise.

1852
April 22 Jacob B. Gretsch arrived in New York from La Harve on the “Gallia”.
He was listed as a farmer from Wurtenburg.
Was this Emilie’s father?

1853
April 19 Rosina Artz arrives from London on the ship “Wisconsin”
She is listed as 20 years old.
If she is Emilie’s mother, she is actually 32 years old.

May 4th Emilie writes Rosina “sailed from the seaport city of La Harve France on May 4, and after a successful voyage by sailing vessel reached New York Harbor on June 6, following.”

These dates do not coincide with the dates I found. However, their very preciseness is of interest. Emilie does not write so precisely about the journey to America of any other of her ancestors.
The journey of her mother is the only one in which Emilie records the precise dates.

Emilie who was only four years old when her mother died, obviously held on tightly to the few things she knows about her mother. Emilie was meticulous in passing them on.

1854
March 12 Emilie born in Brooklyn.

This was the third daughter of Jacob and Rosina and their only child to survive infancy.

June 27 Anna Artz, sister of Emilie’s mother, arrives in New York from La Harve “William Tell”.

Emilie writes ” Anna Maria Artz, a sister of Jacob’s first wife…came to the United States and for a number of years resided with her sister until (her sister’s) death and upon her union in marriage to her brother in law (Jacob) she faithfully filled a mother’s place and bestowed a parental affection upon her sister’s child (Emilie). This child now places this tribute in this work to the memory of a kind and loving mother, Anna Marie Artz Gretsch..”

This embedded homage is the only indication that Emily Gretsch was the writer of this History of the Gretsch Family which appeared in Schlegel’s German-American Families in the United States.
For more information about this book and the essay that Emilie wrote in 1912 see the library section of this website.

In these years, so soon after his arrival in America, Jacob might have been very close to many German revolutionaries who had fled Germany and were living in the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn.

1855
September 23 Rosina born to Jacob and Rosina.

Williamsburgh joined to Brooklyn

1856

May 13 Cousin Friederich Gretsch born in Mannheim. He is the third son of Emilie’s uncle Wilhelm.

1857
January 1 Baby Rosina dies, aged fifteen months.
This is the 3rd little girl of Rosina and Jacob who died in infancy. Emilie is their only child to survive.

1858
Emilie’s mother, Rosina Artz Gretsch dies. Emilie is four years old.

1859
April 29 Brooklyn celebrated the inauguration of its newly conpleted water supply. (It was considered civic duty in the 1860’s to visit the Ridgewood Resevoir and see where the City Water came from.
Jacob lived at 28 Miserole St.

1860
Jacob lived at 28 Miserole Street, occupation engraver.
Not found in the New York State Census index of this year.

1861
Jacob lived at 28 Miserole Street, occupation engraver.

April 19 7th Regiment marched down Broadway in Manhattan as they departed New York.
May 16 All Brooklyn turned out to say “God Speed” to the boys of the 14th Regiment as they left Fort Greene

Emilie writes in 1917 “During the period of the Civil War in this country, his
( Jocob’s) skills as a designer and engraver secured him a large amount of engraving and etching on the blades of swords and other military articles which were sent to him by the firms of Ball and Black and Tiffany and Company, at that time the leading houses of their kind in New York City”.

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7th Regiment Marching
down Broadway (1861)
Oil painting
by Thomas Nast,
based on sketch he did
19 April 1861.

SOURCE:
American Heritage
Picture Book of the
Civil War, ed.
Richard M. Ketchum
(New York: American
Heritage, 1960 In the years to come, Ball and Black became “Ball, Black and Company” and latter “Black Starr and Frost”.

In 1912, to commemorate the 102th anniversary of the company, Black Starr and Frost published a small booklet with the history of the company

In the picture at left is pictured the Ball, Black and Co. building on Broadway and Prince Street.
The building was used from 1860 until 1876.
” The finest business structure and most famous shop it its time; built by Ball, Black & Company in 1860. this was the first fireproof building in New York, being constructed of white marble, and in its vaults the modern safe deposit system was originated. It was especially inspected by the Prince of Wales on his visit to the United States, and is the scene of Thomas Nast’s famous painting of the Seventh Regiments departure for the Civil War.”
( Research done at New York Historical Society, September 28, 2000. GES)

Thomas Nast’s painting on the left also gives a good idea of the energy of the time.

The Back, Ball & Company building is on the left, only its front entry way is visible

1862
July Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers for a 3 year term.

July 14 The New York Times reported that wounded soldiers arrived at the foot of Montague street and were taken to the Long Island College Hospital at Henry and Pacific.
This was not far from where Jacob lived with his family.

1863
The batteries of Governor’s Island were fired every morning>
Imagine hearing these guns every morning. It must have beeen frightening and brought the war very close to home.

July 4 General’s victory at Gettysburg the guns fired continuoously for 2 hours

July 13 New York Draft Riots, many negros were killed. This was the largest civil disturbance in American History to date.
Emilie 9 years old

Two grain elevators in Atlantic Basin set on fire by a mob of 200 during the Draft Riots.

1864
Feb. 22 Opening of Brooklyn and Long Island Sanitary (Health) Fair (did Jacob and Emilie and Annna Maria Artz go?) To raise money for troops. Held at Brooklyn Academy of Music on Montague Street.

May 17 Emilie’s cousin, August Gretsch (born March 22, 1847) signs up to serve in the US Army. Perhaps, August stayed with Emilie and her family when he came to America.

Records of his enlistment can be found on film M551 roll 56 in the US Civil War Records. He enrolled in the 58th Regiment, New York, Infantry. They list his name as August Kretsch.

The following information is from the website of the New York State Military Museum.
“During the years 1864 and 1865, the regiment was stationed at Bridgeport, Tenn., and along the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, on garrison duty and In guarding the railroad communications of the army. The Eleventh Corps, having been merged in the newly-formed Twentieth Corps, in April, 1864, Colonel Krzyzanowski was left without a brigade, and returned to the command of his regiment. In September, 1865, the war having ended, the Fifty-eighth New York proceeded to Nashville, Tenn., where it was paid off and discharged, October 1, 1865.”

more information about this Regiment can be found at :
http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/58thInf/58thInfHistSketch.htm

Emilie gives her cousin August only slight mention in her Gretsch History. ” August who came to the United States and migrated to the west where he finally settled.” Why did she not mention him and his large family. Perhaps, because he changed his name to Joseph Powers. He was the second son of William Casimir Gretsch and Johanna Catherina Fick. They were married in Speyer on September 3, 1845. Their first son William was actually the older brother but Emilie lists August as the older brother in her history of the family..

May 18 Casimir Gretsch dies in Boppard. He is 88 years old. His youngest son Karl Gretsch signs the death certificate. He was the youngest of Casimir’s children and apparently stayed closest to his father.

November 11 The New York Times reported that Lincoln had won the election.

1865
April 14 Good Friday evening, Lincoln was shot.

April 15 The news of the assassination hits the papers and spread quickly around the country.

April 20 This day was first designed as a day of rejoicing in the Union’s victory. Instead, it became a day of National mourning.

Monday, April 24 Lincoln’s body arrives in New York at 10 am and is transported to City Hall. On Tuesday, a large parade accompanied the body to the train station.

As the article below describes how New Yorkers responded in ways “both large and small” to the sad news.

Emilie, 11 years old quite possibly attended these momentous ceremonies with her father< Jacob.

Two more presidents would be assassinated in Emilie’s lifetime, Garfield, and McKinley in 1901

The following op-ed piece which appeared in the New York Times April 17, 2009 offers a good description of the New York City at the time of Lincoln’s death.
New York’s Lincoln Memorial

By TED WIDMER
Published: April 17, 2009
Providence, R.I.

WE’VE never really gotten over Lincoln’s assassination, 144 years ago this week. The news came quickly, but the full import of the deed — a sordid attack upon democracy at a most vulnerable moment in our history — took longer to settle in. Early in the morning on April 15, the first reports flashed with lightning speed along telegraph lines and railroad tracks throughout the newly united states. Twenty years earlier, it would have taken New Yorkers more than a day to know. Now the facts were instantaneous and overwhelming. By 3 a.m. Northern cities had heard of the shooting; by 8 a.m. they knew the result.

The news was slower to reach the hinterland, especially in the South, but crape-bedecked steamships plied the Mississippi, neighbors shouted over fences and eventually the word reached all Americans. In Charlotte, N.C., a fleeing Jefferson Davis received the news by telegram and understood that it augured disaster. Southerners foolish enough to express approval suffered fierce reprisals from Northern troops, and the week that followed saw episodes of mob violence, along with unprecedented displays of religious activity. A Boston minister wrote, “More people united in public worship of God in this land than ever united in such service before.” San Francisco held the largest funeral the West Coast had ever seen.

Amid the emotional upheavals, New Yorkers responded as they always have — in ways both large and small. More than half a million came out to pay homage to Lincoln as his body crossed the city, on a homeward pilgrimage that reversed his dramatic journey from Springfield to the White House four years earlier. People affixed images of his face anywhere they could: on their clothes, in their homes and in the streets. A New York correspondent for a New Orleans newspaper wrote, “Even the drink to quench our thirst, and the meat from off the butcher’s stall, is handed us beneath a massive overhanging of black.”

Up and down Broadway, and all the other arteries and capillaries of the city, shopkeepers designed makeshift shrines to the martyred president. An anonymous diarist walked for miles, drawing sketches of as many storefronts as he could (evidence suggests, but does not confirm, that the diarist was a man). Through his relentless activity — going down one street, then another, incessantly writing — this nameless reporter made the news a bit more comprehensible.
Ted Widmer is the director of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University

October 1
August Gretsch mustered out of US Army in Nashville, TN

1866
The Last Brooklyn regiment returned.
Alice James & Aunt Kate arrive in NYC 1303 Broadway near 35th st at Dr. Charles Fayette Taylor’s house so Alice could be treated for her maladies.

1868
Jacob married Anna Artz, the sister of his first wife. No record can be found for the marriage.
William Gretsch comes to America. He is the eldest son of Wilhelm Gretsch in Mannheim and first cousin to Emilie.

1869
May 10
Wilhelmina Theodora born.

June 21
Roebling got the rights to build Brooklyn bridge

1870
Jacob Gretsch not found in the census indexes for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island.
July 19
Franco Prussian War

August
Bismark invades France.

1871

January 18
Germany declared an Empire under Kaiser William

March
Ice blocked the east river between Brooklyn & New York, one could walk or skate across.

September Emilie began teaching in the public schools of Brooklyn. Emilie writes that her first assignment was in Grammar School #18 and later she taught in Grammar School # 33 and Grammar School # 122. She was for many years actively involved in her chosen profession, teaching in the public schools of the city of Brooklyn. She became thoroughly conversant with several languages and well versed in music. After having taught for 41 years she retired from active work and resides at 670 Decatur Ave.

Please note there are several quotes in this time line from:

( Ravitch, Diane. the Great School Wars: New York City, 1805-1873: A History of the Pubic School as Battlefield of Social Change (New York, Basic Books, 1974)

Oct 25
Cousin Karoline Pauline Gretsch from Boppard came to US on board the ship “Vandalia”.
Pauline’s father Karl, was the younger brother of Jacob. Pauline was a first cousin to Emilie and Wilhelmina. Pauline’s mother had died in 1860 when she was only four years old.
Like Emilie, both cousins had lost their mothers when they were four years old.

It is very possible that Pauline spoke French. Her home was close to the French boarder.

Pauline was the first Gretsch woman, the first granddaughter of Maria Dorothea Wild to come to America.
Emilie writes very little of this cousin in her history of the family. She only writes ” Pauline married Henri Evers of Germany. He died in Belgium and she resided in New York City.”
It is odd that Emilie, who is so engaged in family, writes so little of her first girl cousin to come from Germany.
Perhaps, there was some not so good feeling between them.

The 1900 Census shows a Pauline married to a Henri Evers. Their marriage license from 1895 however shows that this is not Pauline Gretsch. Rather, Pauline Klam Evers born in Luisianna. Had Pauline Gretsch completely changed her identity? It is interesting that Pauline Klam was from Louisiana where French was spoken. There is an older child in the household Louise born in France in 1883 before the 1895 marriage of this Pauline and Henri Evers.

It is interesting that the records found about Pauline are so French identified. No other part of the Gretsch family is so identified with the French language.

No other record of Pauline Gretsch has been found. Unless of course, she is the Pauline Evers of the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census. That Pauline was born however in Louisiana. It is very odd that Pauline born in Boppard would have left the family so completely.

In August of 1883, Pauline Evers is show coming into the USA. She is 19 years old and born in Germany.

Two other cousins, August and William Gretsch, sons of Jacob’s older brother William had previously come to America,

Perhaps, Pauline was sent for to help with Jacob’s family. Emilie was working as a teacher and Wilhelmina was only a baby.
Pauline might not have gotten along with her American family and been more of a hindrance to the peace of the family than a help.

Perhaps, Jacobs wife Anna was already sick at the time of Pauline’s arrival.

Karoline Pauline Gretsch is a mystery.

1872

June
Anniversary day brought thousands of School Children for a parade.

Emilie surely must have been a part of this yearly celebration.

October
Anna M.Gretsch died of apoplexy she was 41 years old.
The family was leaving at 329 South 2nd Ave..

October 14
Anna buried in Plot # 427 Cedar Vale at The Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn.

It must have been a really hard time for Emilie to lose Anna. Wilhelmina was only three years old, about the same age that Emilie was when her mother died.
In 1883, Emilies father Jacob would be buried there. In 1892, Bertha, Jacob’s third wife would also be buried there. In March of 1938, Emily’s ashes would be buried there. Emily died on January 15.
There is large white stone on the grave. Anna is the first to be buried there. Emily’s name is not on the stone.
The stone was obviously placed there sometime after Bertha’s death.
When I was there in 2002 (?) with my sister Katie, there were plastic lily’s of the valley in front of the grave. Katie said that seh thought they were placed there by someone who just went around living flowers at graves that didn’t have any, but I imagined differently.

At the time of Anna death, Emilie was working as a school teacher.
Cousin Pauline Gretsch from Boppard was possibly living with the family, helping care for Wilhelmina.

December 22
Brooklyn Tabernacle, Presbyterian church, destroyed by fire.

1873
Jacob and his family lived at 329 S 2nd

Opening of Prospect Park

May 13
Did Fritz really arrive on his birthday!
Fred Gretsch (age 16) arrived in America at Castle Garden.
Friedrich (Fritz) cousin of Emilie comes to America. this is her third male cousin to come from Germany. William and August had already arrived in America and were quite established here.
Emilie is 19 years old. It must have been very exciting for her to have these handsome cousin come from Germany. Or did she find it tiresome?
Fritz was obviously her favorite for it was Fritz she focused on in her family history. Emilie believed that was Fritz the most successful member of the family here in America.

He was also the closest to her in age.

He probably went to his Uncle Jacob’s house at 329 South Second Street.
Perhaps, he stayed with his half brother William who ran a liquor business at 98 Fulton Street and lived at 16 St. Marks Place in Manhattan.
Perhaps, the family thought was that Fred would work for his older brother in the liquor business.
Instead, he went to work for the drum and banjo manufacturer, Albert Houdlett & Son. (Music Trades Magazine)

Fred, had several close relatives who had already come to American. His older cousin Pauline had come two years earlier. Pauline was the daughter of Karl Gretsch and was born in Simmern in 1856.
He had uncles on his mother’s side and his father’s side who had already settled in America.
Fred also had two first cousins, Emilie born in 1856 and Wilhelmina born in 1869, who like Rosa were born in Brooklyn of German born parents.
Over the years, Emilie and Rosa both very strong women and both very focused on the family would have gotten to know each other well.
It is interesting to speculate on the relationship between Rosa Gretsch and Emilie Gretsch.
Fritz’s mother’s brothers was also settled in California when he arrived in America.

1874
Trial of Henry Ward Beechen sued by Harry Ward Telton on a charge of alienating his wife’s affection. He was vindicated by public opinion.
Check my notes on “the most famous man in America” by Debby Applegate, read in June 2006
Incredible trial. The sensation of all the newspapers. Emily must have read about it.

1875
Date not known
Jacob marries Bertha Wintermantel born April 1, 1845 in Baden Wurttemberg, Germany.

September 3
Jacob’s brother William dies in Mannheim. Three of his sons, August, Wilhelm and Fritz had already arrived in America. After his death, all of his other children would find their way to America.

1876
June 17
Louis Gretsch, another son of William Gretsch arrives from Germany.

July 4th
100th Anniversary of US. There must have been big celebrations.

Frederick Jacob born to Jacob and Bertha. This was Jacob’s first son. The infant died 5 months later

August 15
Brooklyn and NY connected-footbridge engaged so tourists can cross for 1 Penny.
Brookyn newspaper calls it a “wedding”, NY Herald “an engagement”

December 6
Fire in Brooklyn theater, several hundred killed because of faulty fire doors. Washington ST.& Johnson ST.

1877

According to the Manhattan Directory for 1877 which was assembled in 1876:
William Gretsch liquors 98 Fulton h. 16 St. Marks Place

Feb 23
William Charles Gretsch born

October 16

Jacob’s nephew, William Gretsch was married on Ocotober 16, 1877 in Manhattan to Marie Rittmuller, Her mother’s name was Charlotte Enders and her father’s name was Carl. She was born in Germany and was 34 years old. William was 32.

They both lived at 23 Waverly Place.

The witnesses were John A. Fuchs and Adolph Mayer. On June 1, 1872 William’s father had married in Germany a Justine Fuchs. Is this witness perhaps related?

Adolph was listed in the 1880 census as living with his wife Carrie age 22 born in Illinois. They are listed as boarders on East 50th Street. He is a wine merchant.

October 16
Emilie’s cousin, Pauline Gretsch from Mannheim sails for America from Hamburg on “Gellert”.
Most likely she goes to live with the family of her uncle Jacob Gretsch. He is now married for the third time to Bertha Wintermantal and has a nine month old son. His daughters from his earlier marriages still live with him. Emilie is now a school teacher and Wilhelmina is 8 years old.

1878
February 6
Emilie, is promoted to a vice teacher in the first grade of primary school. Brooklyn Eagle.

On this same day, another cousin Philippine ( Bena ) sails to America from Hamburg on the “Lessing”. Second Class. Passenger # 14 Philippine with a very beautifully written “P” from Mannheim. I couldn’t help but wonder if the man writing in the name of the oncoming passenger had been really intrigued with this young beautiful woman. I thought of Maggie and Mary and Heather at this age. I thought that his special care with the formation of this letter “P” could have been influenced by his infatuation with the girl herself. Or perhaps, she had written her name herself and had quite a flourish to her penmanship. Passenger# 13 Clementine Cahn 28, Gehans. Passenger # 15 George Beck 18, New York.

February 21
Bena arrives in New York at Castle Gardens.
She was pretty brave to take a winter crossing of the Atlantic.
Bena had lots of siblings and cousins in New York.
Perhaps, she went right away to her uncle Jacob’s home. Or perhaps, she went to her step brother, William Gretsch’s home.
She mostly came to help her Uncle Jacob with the care of his family.

Emilie was probably glad to have more help in the household or perhaps, she was getting tired of all these cousins moving in.

July 8
Dora is born to Jacob and Bertha Gretsch.

November 10
On this date, Philippine’s sister, Paulina is married to Conrad Benzing.
Pauline is living at 167 Essex Street in Manhattan at the time of her marriage. Conrad lives at 74 Third Street just a few blocks away.

The witnesses were Fred Gretsch and Mary Schmann.

Pauline’s Manhattan address signals that possibly the Gretsch family lived in Manhattan before they came to Brooklyn. The address is not far from Delancy Street, the present day entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge.

She was married by an ordained Minister Gottfried. Scheibel, 76 Essex, Street.

1879
June 23
The Brooklyn Eagle reports that “German singers of Brooklyn enjoy a day on the water”
Ernst Lasch was head of a German singing group of which Emily was a member. He attended this picnic and perhaps, Emily did too.

August 24
Ralph Gretsch born. It must have been a busy household on Lewis Ave with three young children.

February 1
Cousin Fred Gretsch (22) married Rosa Behman Schnapauff (22). Frederick Kilian and Louis Gretsch are witnesses.
They are not married in a church. Rosa lived at 200 South 5th Brooklyn. Fritz lived at 46 E 3rd NYC

December 28
In Scotland, the Tay Bridge collapsed in a storm only 19 months after its completion.
This bridge was a modern wonder and its unexpected failure shocked the world.
Surely, the young married couple read the news with great amazement.

“Tand, tand ist das Gebilde von Menschenhand” is a line from Theodore Fontane’s poem “Die Bruecke am Tay” written in 1887 which told of the disaster.

1880

Approximately February
According to the Brooklyn census, a 14 year old niece lives in the Household of Jacob Gretsch.

Most likely this is Philippine Gretsch, the youngest of the girl cousins from Mannheim. Philippine or Bena as she was known was actually 19 years old. The census record was also wrong in recording 2 year old Dora as a son.

Also in the household of Jacob Gretsch, age 54 was his third wife Bertha age 45.
Daughter Millie, age 26 school teacher, daughter Minna, age 11, in school, son Willie age 3, son Dora age 2, and son Ralph age 6 months. They were living at 102 Lewis Ave.

February 10

Click to enlarge image

To see an enlargement of this birth certificate, click on the image. Cousin’s Fred and his wife Rosa’s first child “Fred” is born (Physician/Midwife- Dr.Rebmanny). Fritz is listed as a “wholesale grocer” on the birth certificate.
The baby is born at the same address as Rosa’s parents. Apparently, the young couple have moved in with Rosa’s parents.
Note, that Rosa is listed as 23 years old born in 1856.

According to the US Census of this year, Rosa and Fritz are living at 200 South 5th Street in the same building as Rosa’s parents. Their son is 3 months old.
Fritz is employed as a bookkeeper in a music store. Rosa’s father is employed as a “picture color”. Perhaps, he hand painted photographs.
Also living in the same building was Alexander Gumpert and his wife Cecila and infant daughter.

Other cousins from Manheim are also listed in the directories:
Louis Gretsch is listed as a bookkeeper at 105 Wilson
William Gretsch is listed as a wine merchant at 37 4th Street in the Eastern District.

April Pauline Gretsch and Konrad Benzing first child, Pauline, is born in New Jersey.

This picture of Jacob and Bertha Gretsch was taken circa 1880.

Click to enlarge image

1881
Seth Low elected Major of Brooklyn ( also 1883)
July Low goes to Newport to fire Washignton Roebling

1882

April 8 Fred and Rosa Gretsch’s second son , Walter is born.
This picture of Dora was probably taken when she was about 4 or 5 years old.

Click to enlarge image

1883
February
Pauline Gretsch Benzing gives birth to her second daughter Wilhelmine in Hoboken, New Jersey.

March 24
Brooklyn Eagle ” The Rev. Henry H. Washburn, the newly installed rector of St. Barnabas’ Church (Bush Ave and Kossuth place), will conduct his first festival service in that parish on Easter……This programme will be interpreted by Miss Hattie Smith, soprano; Miss Emilie Gretsch contralto; Mr. Marmaduke R. S. Holgate, tenor and Mr. E. B. Tompkis, bass who constitute the quartet choir of St. Barnabas.

This short article along with one from May 6, 1891 point to the fact that singing was a big part of Emilie’s life.

One wonders if Emilie was also involved with one of the many singing clubs which were so much a part of the social life of the German community in Brooklyn.

The article of 1891 points back to the possibility that Emilie and Wilhelmina were very much involved in the singing societies of their home town of Brooklyn.

April 23
Emilie’s father, Jacob Gretsch dies at 102 Lewis Ave.

Years later his oldest son, William Gretsch, remembers the household at the time of his father’s death.   William wrote this following letter in September of 1961 and mailed it to his granddaughter Lucille just 13 days before he died. He is remembering back almost 80 years!

Please note that Tante Bena came to care for the children after Jacob’s death. Perhaps, she came from her sister, Pauline Benzing’s home in New Jersey. Pauline had had her second daughter just months earlier.

Dear Puddy, CHAPTER TWO
I can remember the Sunday Morning I was to go to my Papa’s room for my Sunday Rumpus with Papa and can recall seeing the excitement through out the house. Papa had died that morning had a heart attack, I of course couldn’t understand why I was not allowed in his room as I was only 8 years old., Mother tired to carry on the house as best she could with us children but it was too much for her, although we had an upstairs maid and a cook and Mama being a semi invalid , my oldest sister who was teaching school Emilie, (18 years old) asked a sister of Papa to come and take over. (Bena was actually a first cousin to Jacob’s children)
Well believe you me you talk about a disciplinarian, a real “Hun”. A large tub was put on the floor of kitchen (no bath rooms) at that time) Willie- Dora – Ralph-get up come down for your wash- 3 flights of stairs and she watched you while you washed-regardless of weather down trotted for your daily wash,- Emilie and Minnie where too old for her to Boss around.
There were 3 boys in the neighborhood Charlie Morgan, Phil Jacobs and Billie Keeler older than I was by 3 years- Charlie Morgan was the tough kid of the neighborhood always slapping us kids around.
Well one afternoon I saw this Morgan boy come down the street loaded down with groceries both hands around the bundles -Soo- I figured this was my chance- Oh was I brave! I blocked the way into his house yelled” Charles Morgan plays the Organ, Sister beats the drums, then sailed into him. I beat and kicked him to my hearts content -until he cried for his Mother- Well sir from that time on I was the Hero.
Also this time of year every Thursday of mo. of Sept. an Old Darkey use to come through neighborhood with a very large tray on his head calling out, Honeyee Comb-Honeyee Comb-, which was a big treat for us youngsters 10cents a whole comb.- can you picture us kids eating honey not on a stick but flat on a piece of board. “No Ice Cream” in those days, Licorich Shoe Laces-Taffy by penny’s worth-only Molasses Taffy- made by the baker on large flat tray and he would break it up as you bought it mostly penny’s worth-no chewing gum- but peppermint lozenges and peppermint sticks- Only fruit we had was Pears and Apples- Peddlers would go though streets calling out Pie Apples, Pie Apples 10 cents a pail.- mostly green at this time of year but Mama use to put them in the cellar on a platform that Papa built close to ceiling to Ripen on stove.
If you needed Milk-you would have to put a note in a can which was put out on front step outside of Kitchen door Milkman carried large gallon can with large dipper and would fill order as per note- and very often Milkman would not put cover on securely on can and when Mama went to get the Milk- all the cats in the neighborhood were drinking our Mildk but we drank what was left didn’t think any thing of it.
Well by this time I guess I was about 10 years-when Billy Keeler thought up the idea of rolling cigaretes using the brown part of the corn husk (hair like part) and roll it in a piece of newspaper-I was dared to smoke one-well I couldn’t take a dare- so low and behold just as I started to smoke my sister Dora saw me and ran home to tell on me- next thing I knew Aunt Beenchen came after me- “Oh Boy” got a severe whipping and sent to bed without supper.
Chapter Three will follow, hope you will survive long enough to wait for it- Mother is very well met her at the air port-weather very hot-
Will be so happy while she is visiting will enjoy every minute of it- Aunt Louise, Uncle Bill and Saally send their love, Stay well, will write Barbara dn John in day or so-Give them bit hug and kiss from Rich Grampa in New Jersay-Regards to Chuck, Muc love Dear, Grampa
Buy a Lolly Pop with Enclosure, God Love You, Grampa PS-PS-Tante Beenchen-in-German  Aunt-Beenchen-in-English

April 26
Jacob Gretsch is buried at the Evergreens Cemetery, Cedar Vale #247, Brooklyn. He is buried with his second wife Anna Gretsch who had died 11 years earlier.
Nine years later, Bertha would be buried beside him.
Fifty five years later, exactly to the day, the ashes of his oldest daughter Emily would be buried their also.

The bright white headstone on the grave only lists Anna and Jacob. The inscriptions are written in German.

Gretchen Elsner-Sommer (nee Gretsch) and her sister Katie Cuddeback visited this grave in 2004. At that time, the very white head stone stood out among the others stones which seemed slightly grey. Perhaps, the stone is really marble. Also, someone had laid a sprig of plastic Lillies of the Valley in front of the grave.

About this time…. Rosa’s husband Fritz Gretsch left the Albert Houdlett & Son and starts Gretsch Musical Instruments a “small music shop at 128 Middleton Street, Brooklyn they manufactured drums, banjos, tambourines, toy drums for wholesalers like Bruno, Wurlitzer and Carl Fischer.” (Music Trades Magazine)

I think that address is incorrect. According to Brooklyn Directories, the Middleton address for the Frederick Gretsch banjo business did not appear until 1890. Before then, the business was Fred Gretsch Drums at 134 1st Street.

For the following information , I thank the website: Tiki Kings Ukulele Database-Nu-Way

“Build by the Albert Houdlett and Son drum and banjo company. From what I understand, the Albert Houdlett & Son company started business in Brooklyn, New York, about 1865. They originally produced drums, then later added banjos to the line, which included “Lynbrook”, “Nu-Art” and “Nu-Way” Banjos. Around 1883, one of their employees, Friedrich Gretsch, left the company to form his own business. Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co., (also in Brooklyn) who made many instruments, but specialized in ( and is still know for) drums. The Gretsch company is still in business today. The Albert Houdlett and Son drum and banjo company closed its doors around 1930.

Early May
Emily Roebling was the wife of the chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. After he became too ill to travel to the bridge site, Emily became his chief contact with the work being done there.

“..in early May, when the last of the superstructure was in place, the roadway at last completed, and the time had come to send a carriage across-to test the effect of a trotting horse-Roebling had asked that she be the first person to ride over. The others on the staff and in the bridge offices agreed wholeheartedly. So one fine morning, she and a coachman crossed over from Brooklyn in a new victoria, its varnish gleaming in the sunshine. She had taken a live rooster along with her, as a symbol of victory, and from one end of the bridge to the other, the men had stopped their work to cheer and lift their hats as came riding by.”
David McCullough’s “The Great Bridge”.

Emilie Gretsch still in grief over her father’s death, must have taken note of this intelligent, brave woman who shared a name with her.
Perhaps, this is when she started thinking of spelling her name ” Emily”.

May 24 Brooklyn Bridge opens. Longest suspension bridge in the world. Speeches and 14 tons of fireworks exploded! Everyone had the day off. President Chester Arthur was here. Governor of New York, Grover Cleveland was also there.

“There were elaborate preparations made, intended to awe the viewers and make them feel proud to be New Yorkers. Schools and businesses were closed for the whole day in Brooklyn, while Manhattan had a half-holiday. Both cities were decorated with flags and banners. Fireworks displays lasted far into the night. Thousands watched and cheered the ceremony and procession.”
to read more go to this website:  http://www.mapsites.net/gotham01/webpages/gabbyl/opening.htm

Emily I’m sure walked across the bridge with her younger siblings and cousins. They all dreamed dreams about their future in America. At a time when the tallest buildings were 6 stories high, the view from this bridge must have seemed like the view from a mountain top!
The bridge must have been a big part of their lives and their dreams!

May 30
Fear of collapse, causes Panic on Brooklyn bridge, one week after its opening. Twelve people died and 30 are injured.

Perhaps the crowd remembered the collapse of the Tay Bridge on December 28,1879. Perhaps, this is what caused the panic.

June 17
Bertha Gretsch, widow of Jacob petitioned the surrogate court of Kings County “In the matter of Application for Letters of Administration on the Estate of Jacob Gretsch.” His property did not exceed five hundred dollars. Living in the household at the time was Bertha 34 yeras old, Emily 29 years old, Wilhelmina 14 years old, William age six years, Dora age 4and Ralph age 3 years.
NB. Emilie is here referred to as “Emily.”

1884
March 24
Auguste Katharine Gretsch von Hellerman gives birth to a daughter in San Diego California.
Auguste Katharine is a cousin of Emily’s from Mannheim. She is the 4th of the nine children of Anna Maria von Gerichten and Wilhelm Gretsch.

Emily would write about her sparingly in the Gretsch history.
“Katherine, married Wilhelm von Hellerman and resides in the city of Dresan, Province of Saxony, Germany. Issue: Wilhelmina Emilie (“Helma”) von Hellerman.”
Emily neglects to write that Helma was born in America.

Katherina was no doubt living with her mother’s family in San Diego when her daughter was born.
Peter Karl (CP) Gerichten is described in family records as ” Merchant or business man in San Francisco, St. Louis and San Diego was one of the most renown and the richest citizen in one of these cities” sic

April 9
Louis Gretsch becomes a citizen of the United States. Louis is living at 58 East Third Street in Manhattan.
William Gretsch, Louis’s older half brother is his sponsor. William is living at 247 Vernon Street in Brooklyn.

April 28
Peter Karl von Gerichten dies in San Diego. He was a very successful business man.

July 3
Two more young cousins, Philip and Jacob Gretsch arrive from Manheim.

September 23 Fred Gretsch becomes a citizen of the United States. John A. Dillmeier attests to his good character. The 1880 Census shows a John Dillmeier living in Brooklyn at 57 Montrose Ave. He is married, has 6 children and is from Bavaria

1885
April 24
The Exhibition of pupils of the Eastern District Turners’ School at Turn Hall on Miserole Street last evening was largely attended by parents…….All were under the direction of Professors Carl Stahl, Theodore Speth, Ludwig Horals and the Misses Dillhof, Lothrington, Shulte, Harrison and Gretsch.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle Front page.
(This is Emily Gretsch. I doubt that this is a public school rather a neighborhood school)

July 2
Wilhelmina T. Gretsch graduates from PS 25 on Lafayette Ave near Sumner.

September 5
After an illness of two months, Pauline Gretsch Benzing, the first cousin of Emilie, Whilehelmina and Dora dies at the Gretsch home on Lewis Ave. She had come to Lewis Ave most likely to be nursed by her sister Bena who was living there at the time.

Pauline’s husband Conrad Benzing and their two young daughters, Pauline and Wilhelmina live in Hoboken, New Jersey. Pauline is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery however not in the same grave as her uncle Jacob.

In 1892, Bena’s 4 month old son is buried with Pauline. In 1898, Bena’s husband is also buried with her.
I assume that Pauline, came to the family house on Lewis Ave in Brooklyn to be nursed by her sister Bena.

Circa 1890, Conrad married Bertha Wintermantel’s sister, Emma.

1886

Girls High School opens in Bedford Styveston

May Bena Gretsch, a cousin of the Gretsch girls who had been staying with the family since their father died, returned to Germany.

1887

Fire in Havermeyer Sugar Refinery putting thousands out of work.
July 8 tornado

1888
March 12 The Blizzard of 1888

It was probably around this time, in the mid 1880’s that Bertha Wintermantel’s family came from Germany.
The Gretsch family was stilll living on Lewis Ave when Frank Wintermantel and his sister Anna Wintermantel (Jordan) came to America. In the fallowing years, both Anna and Frank were instrumental in helping their mother, Ursula Wintermanel, and their younger siblings Hermann, Carl and Emma come to America.

Soon after they arrived, Frank left for Mexico. Bertha who was then a widow with three children and her sister Ann, known as Aunt Jordan had to take care of them all.

This information comes from a typed written letter which Dora wrote on March 2, 1961 to her nephew, William C. Gretsch:
“We had one flat on Stockton and just Grandmother and Herman had 2 rooms on the same floor but in another apartment. Millie and Minnie never lived on Willoughby. It was Hart Street and from there they moved to Grove St. a one way block to Decatur Street. and now we have buried all that under the Blizzard of ’88.”
L

The Blizzard was obviously part of Dora’s memory of these hector days of family arriving and moving to a new home. She was not yet 10 years old and would have been alert to all the disruption in the family. Frank leaving for Mexico, the family moving, Emily and Wilhelmina living elsewhere and Emma leaving the household.

Perhaps, it was during the Blizzard or soon afterwards that Emma Wintermantel and Conrad Benzing, the widower of Pauline Gretsch began their relationship. Their marriage soon afterwards shows the close relationship among the cousins of the Gretsch family. Emma who was no doubt a hardship on her mother and older sisters, was much needed in Hoboken, to take care of Conrad and his two young daughters, Pauline and Wilhelmina. Emma and Conrad married circa 1890.

A 1892 New York State Census shows Bertha and her children William, Dora and Ralph living at 340 Stockton. Ursula and Herman also live there.

1891
“…the first edition of Dickinson’s POEMS sold out rapidly through eleven printings in 1891” Joyce Carol Oates, “In Rough Country”.
I wonder if Emilie Gretsch purchased a copy. She surely knew of her. Emilie Gretsch was a school teacher.

March 6 Frederick Gretsch applies for a Patent for a banjo.

May 5 The Brooklyn Eagle reported that ” A New Singing Society Makes it Debut in the Eastern District.”
” In this last piece (Palestrina’s Saucius) the Misses Price, Gretsch, E. Van Guelpen and A. B. Huene had short solos.”

Emily Gretsch along with her sister Wilhelma and their cousin Carl Gretsch also sang in this concert. It is not clear from the article which Miss Gretsch sang the solo.
Carl Gretsch was also an archivar (archivist ?).

The concert was held at Zoeller Mannerchor Hall, 977 Broadway.

Ernst Lasch was the president of the new society. His name can be found prominently in several article about singing clubs in Brooklyn. ( see June 23, 1879 in this time line.) He lived at 903 Willoughby. Emilie Elder is the vice president of the society. She was another woman who spells her name Emilie. It must have been a common spelling in those circles.

June Emily’s cousin, Bena Gretsch Morgner gives birth to her first daughter, Johanna.

July 14 A U.S, Patten is awarded to Frederick Gretsch for a banjo.

November 1 Louie Gretsch’s daughter, Olga is born.

November 22 Rosa’s youngest child Herbert is born.

1892
Bertha Wintermantel and her children, William, Dora and Ralph were living at 340 Stockton.
Also living there were Ursula Wintermantel and her son Herman Wintermantal.

This was taken before Bertha’s death on March 28th.

Later in court papers Ursula Wintermantel was living at 73 Melrose Street.

In those same papers, Emilie and Wilhelmina were living at 33 Central Street.

According to the New York State Census of 1892, Philippina, Max, their daughter Johanna lived at 319 Marcy with Bena’s brother Jacob Gretsch.
Max was an “engraver” and Jacob made “surgical instruments”. Perhaps, the census taker misunderstood and “musical instruments” was his trade.
Marcy Ave is about 3 blocks from Middleton Ave where the Gretsch factory was located at the time located.

March 28

Bertha Gretsch dies at 340 Stockton Street and is buried with Jacob and his second wife Anna at the Evergreens Cemetery. Cause of death is Nephritis.
Bena had first come to America in 1878 to live with uncle Jacob and his family. Just after Bena arrived in America, Bertha third child Dora was born.
Bertha’s death must have brought back many memories to Bena.

It also set in motion a round of court paper surrounding the adoption of the three minor children William who is 14 years old, Dora who was 13 years old and Ralph who was? Bena had also taken care of these children in the early 1880’s when their father died.
See William’s letter above about his Tante Philippine in this period

May 5 Katie Von Gerichten from California was in New York. She was a first cousin of the Gretsch children, Bena, Fred, etc. Katie would have known their sister, Katie Gretsch Von Hellerman who lived in California in the 1880’s.

Katie was traveling with her step mother, Florentine Timm von Gerichten. Also in the traveling group were Florentine’s three daughters and her grand daughter. They were all relatives of the Gretsch children.

It is interesting to note that Ella Florentine Marsten who was 8 years old at the time was also an orphan. Her father had died a year ago January and her mother, Anna Maria von Gerichten died in 1888. That this family group would arrive at the time that more Gretsch orphans were being cared for, is quite interesting.

Orphaned children were nothing new to the Gretsch family.

William Gretsch signed Florentine and Katie von Gerichten’s passport applications. His address was 98 Fulton Street.

Finding William Gretsch’s signature on this application is proof that the Gretsch children were in contact with their California cousins, their mother’s side of the family.

July 2 Emilie ( NB the spelling of Emily’s name )and Wilhelmina were living at 33 Central Place in Brooklyn. They were served papers to appear in court on July 12th.

Philippine Morgner and Philippine Gretsch are both mentioned as being served with papers on this day. Presumably, this is the same person. This was a Saturday and Philippine Gretsch was served papers at 319 Marcy. Philippine Morgner was left with the papers for Jacob Gretsch at 319 Hart Street. This was the home of William Gretsch, the successful half brother of Philippine. At the time Philippine was very pregnant with her second child who would be born in July. She also had a one year old. This day, she was literally in two places at one time.

July 12 Philippine Morgner along with Ursula Wintermantel,( the children’s grandmother) Wilhelmine Gretsch, Emilie Gretsch, William Gretsch, Frederick Gretsch, Carl Gretsch, Jacob Gretsch were cited and required to appear before the court at 10 in the forenoon to show cause why a decree should not be made appointing Louis Gretsch or some other person nominated by the surrogate the guardian of the persons and property of said Dora Gretsch and Ralph Gretsch , etc.

July 13 Guardianship of the children was given to Louis Gretsch. Louie Gretsch was at this very time taking over the wine business from his half brother, William.

Dora went to live with Emily and Wilhelmina.

July 24 Hans Max Morgner, son of Philippina and Max was born at 319 Mary Ave.

August Louis and Clara Gretsch’s third daughter is born.

November 20 Hans Max becomes sick with pneumonia. He is seen by Dr. Perine

November 28 Hans died at 2:30 in the afternoon at 96 South 10th Street. This was a house. the death certificate was delivered to Mr. Fritz Gretsch.
November 30 Hans is buried with his mother’s sister, Pauline Gretsch Benzing at the Evergreens Cemetery.

1893
January “Joseph Mayer Rice wrote an article in FORUM a New York monthly with national distribution which launched school reform and made educational reform a major issue in the city.”

The weekly journal SCHOOL (written for NY school teachers, chatty and informational, edited by H.S Fuller) provides a good account of the professionals distaste for centralization and reform.

1893 commission set up, report made

1894
April 4 Emily Gretsch and Wilhelmina T. Gretsch take a mortgage on 670 Decatur Street. The mortgage is from A. Stewart Walsh for $750.00.

NB In these papers, the name Emily Gretsch appears.

1895
April 28, Sunday Emily’s cousin, Fred died in Hamburg from cholera. He was 39 years old.
Fred’s older brother William was living in Manheim at the time and had come to Hamburg, perhaps to meet his brother as he arrived. William signed his death certificate.

Sterbeurkunde Friedrich Gretsch
Sterbe-Urkunde
Nr. 847
Hamburg, am 29. April 1895
Vor dem unterzeichneten Standesbeamten erschien heute der Persönlichkeit nach durch den mit Gewerbe-Anmeldungs-Schein legitimieren Kaufmann Eduard Friedrich Martin Kladt anerkannt, der Privatier Wilhelm Gretsch,
wohnhaft zu Mannheim, Litra O7, 19
und zeigte an, dass der Fabrikant Fritz Gretsch, 38 Jahre 11 Monate alt, evangelischer Religion,
wohnhaft zu Brooklyn, No 20 Hart Street im Staate New York in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-America,
geboren zu Mannheim, verheiratet mit Rosa geborene Schnapauff,
Sohn der zu Mannheim verstorbenen Eheleute, Kaufmann Wilhelm Gretsch und Maria geborene von Gerichten,
zu Hamburg, Glockengießerwall 16, am achtundzwanzigsten April vormittags um fünf einhalb Uhr verstorben sei,
was der Anzeigende aus eigener Wissenschaft bezeuge.
Vorgelesen, genehmigt und unterschrieben.
gez. Wilhelm Gretsch

This death certificate was found in the New York archive in 2003 by Mary Ann DiNapoli while doing research for Gretchen Elsner-Sommer, Fred and Rosa’s great granddaughter. Transliteration of the text was done by Bettina Höcherl of the Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit in Mannheim.

Music Trades writes circa 1973, “At the time of his death (Frederick Gretsch, 1895) the firm was still small with only a dozen employee in a small wooden shanty converted from a stable on S. 4th Street.

May 27

George Seidenzahl of 23 Broadway and Louie Gretsch of 20 Vernon Ave were the executors of Fred’s will.
Fred left $18,000 worth of Real Estate and $8,000. worth of personal property.
George Seidenzahl died on Dec 29, 1899. He was 38 years old.
November 27 Fred Gretsch was buried at Greenwood Cemetery.
It took quite a while to retrieve Fred’s body from Europe because of the cholera epidemic.
When Fred’s wife Rosa purchased this plot, she was making quite an independent statement.
The members of the Gretsch family who had died in America were all buried at the Evergreen Cemetery.
This was quite a departure.

School reform defeated

(Mariana Griswold van Rensselaer

worked with Butler)

1895 April 28, cousin Fred dies in Europe

1896
February 29 The mortgage on Emily and Wilhelmina’s home at 670 Decatur was discarged.
Emily and Wilhelmina must have been delighted to have paid off their morgage.
I wonder if they had a party and burned the mortgage papers which was a custom.

April 22, Mayor Strong signed the reform bill and centraized the school systemm of NYC.

Charter Commission was gong to determine the system of education for all of Greater New York…”all three members were from Brooklyn (Seth Low) which was significant in view of the antagonism between the propoments of the centralzed system of New York and the defenders of the still highly decentralized system in Brooklyn” “Brooklyn had a strong tradition of local control and was anxious to maintain it despite the pressures of the New Yorker reformers”

“The Brooklyn system contained al teh practices which New Yorkers had routed from their own schools. In Brooklyn the central board was large(45) and weak. Each school was managed by a three or four man local committee; each member of the central board sat on eat least oneLocal Committee. Friends of the system claimed that it kept the shools close to the people. But itsenemies which included Brooklyn School superintendent William henry maxwell charged that the local committee were thoughly political and undermined the efficiency of the system. Maxwell was a co-founder with Butler of “the educational review” and shared his views.”

“The education committee of the charter commission worked out a compromise…Brookyn was permitted to retain its peculiar local committee system”

1897
Lain’s Directory Brooklyn Emily Gretsch, dressmaker, h. 670 Decatur
Rosa Gretsch, w Fred’k, musical instr. mf. 198 S. 4th Street, h. 20 Hart ST.
Louis Gretsch, wines, ny, h. 20 Vernon Ave.

February 19 At 3 a.m. Rosa’s mother, Caroline Schnappauff died at 20 Hart Street. She had been sick for 8 days with pneumonia. The death certificate was delivered to Mr. L. Gretsch. I imagine that this is Rosa’s brother in law and not her son. Her son would have been only 14.
Caroline Schnauppauff was the only grandmother that the Gretsch children knew. She was buried at The Evergreens Cemetery along side her husband, Adolf who had died in 1887.
There were two families living at 20 Hart Street at the time.
After the death of her mother, Rosa, a widow with 7 children decided to supplement the family income by taking in boarders.
Quite possibly it is at this time that Jacob Hyman, a retired businessman came to live with the family.
There is no record of exactly when Jacob came to live in the family home at 20 Hart Street but a newspaper report states that in 1915 he had been living with the Gretsch family for almost 20 years.

October 24 Jacob Gretsch, Emily’s youngest cousin from Mannheim died of Tuberculosis.
Jacob was the youngest of the children of William and Anna Maria von Gerichten. He had come to America in 1884 on the same day as his older brother Philip. Jacob stayed in Brooklyn but Philip went on to California to be with the Von Gerichen side of his family.

Jacob died at 247 East 24th Street in Manhattan. This is the home of Bena Gretsch Morgner and her husband Max. He was 30 years old.
It must have been a very sad time for the Gretsch family to loose so many relatives in such a short period of time. Rosa’s mother died only months before. Jacob Gretsch was buried along side Rosa’s parents in the Evergreens Cemetery.
It was the second time in less than one year when the children had visited this cemetery plot.
Jacob was not buried with his brother Fred in the newly purchased Greenwood Cemetery plot.

1898

Dora and her friend. Dora is on the right.

Click to enlarge image

1898 Van Wyck became a the first mayor of NYC won against reform candidate Seth Low (from Brooklyn).

1898 January 1, New York, Brooklyn and numerous towns and villages in the Bronx, Richmond and Queens became one consolidated city. Brooklyn schools were permitted to retain its peculiar local committee school system.

1898 William Henry Maxwell, the Brooklyn City Superintendent was elected first city Superintendent served for 20 years. Worked with Butler 1891-1896 as coeditor, EDUCATIONAL REVIEW. “more than any other men of their times were responsible for the metamorphasis of NY School system. Butler got Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 with Jane Addams. Butler (“snobish, enlightened, intelligent” “thought layman should have notheing to do with educational administration)led the revolution, Maxwell consolidated it.”

1900
U. S. Census US Census reports that Emily(46), Whilhelmina(31) and Dora (21) are living at 670 Decatur. Emily is a school teacher, Wilhelmina has no employment and Dora works as a “Stenographer Clerical”

Another family is living at the same address, perhaps they are renters. Julia Sumylar age 65, her daugher Caroline age 35 and another daughter Berenice age 24. Berence is the only one who is working. Her employment is “Stenographer, Advertising”. they are of Irish, English decent.

At 1164 Halsey Street, Ralph Gretsch age 20 is living with his uncle Karl O. Jordan age 61.
Frederick M.O. Jordan, son of Karl, age 23, is also living there. Karl is a architect.
Herman Wintermantel, age 38, brother of Bertha and brother in law of Karl O. Jordan is also listed. He has no occupation.

Bertha’s sister. Anna was married Karl O. Jordan.
They were instumental in helping bring Anna’s mother, and her sister and brothers to America in the mid 1880’s.
Dora referred to Anna and Karl as “Aunt Jordan and Uncle Jordan”.

The US Census for Hoboken, New Jersey, shows Pauline Gretsch Benzing’s daughters living with their father and Emma Wintermantel and their three sons.
Pauline is twenty years old and does embroidery.
Wilhelmina is 17 and is at school.
This is the last record of the daughters of Pauline Gretsch that I have been able to find to date, 5/2009.

Emily must have kept track of them. She mentions only their names in her history of the Gretsch family.

1901
August 7 Emily’s half brother Ralph Gretsch is in Berlin with Max O. Jordon and applies for a US Passport.

Ralph is 21 years old. Max is 25. They are cousins. Their mothers were sisters with the name Wintermantel.

On the same day, Max O. Jordan applies for a passport in Berlin. They both give their addresses as 670 Decatur.
Emily’s house must have been some sort of family hub!

Revised Charter of School system, local boards revived.

(proved to be highly durable) “highly centralized, highly professionalized and highly bureaucratized.”

1901-03 “Under the reform Mayor Seth Low (born in Brooklyn 1850), schools enjoyed unstinting financial and political support”

1903
Nov.30 Burning of the Academy of Music on Montague Street, Brooklyn.

December 19 On this Saturday, the Williamsburg Bridge was officially opened. There was a huge parade for the occasion and fourteen hundred policemen were on hand to keep order. William Cullen Bryant was the Parade’s Grand Marshall.

Charlotte was already dating Fred Gretsch who she would marry just one month later in Manhattan.
Fred lived in Brooklyn not far from the Brooklyn end of the Williamsburg Bridge.
Perhaps, they thought of the bridge as a symbol of their union, a connection between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

It was not the first bridge between the two counties. The first bridge was the Brooklyn Bridge which was officially opened in 1883. The Williamsburg Bridge was however, the largest, the longest and the widest. In the years to come it would be a big part of the Gretsch business in Brooklyn.

1904 January, Fred married to Charlotte Sommer

1904 June 14, fiery accident on General Slocum steamboat, 1000 german born immigrants drowned. a church outing

1905
Brooklyn Census shows that Emily and Wilhelmina and Dora and Ralph are living at 670 Decatur. Emily is listed as the head.
Also living at that address are “Wallace W. Furse age 26, a Clerk and his wife Mattie, age 26 and occupation ” housework”.

William C Gretsch and his wife Lucille with Dora Gretsch.

Click to enlarge image

March Fred Jr. born

1906

Click to enlarge image

This picture postcard was addressed to Dora Gretsch, Lakeside House, Orange Lake, New York. The message read: “This fine looking crowd sends you love, Mill and Min.” Teddy, the son of Elsa Gretsch, gave it to me circa 1990. It was the first picture I saw of Hertha, Emily and Wilhelmina. There was no stamp on the postcard but perhaps it had been sent in an envelope. Or perhaps, it was never sent. That would explain why it was still in the possession of the Gretsch family and not in Dora’s possessions.

Click to enlarge image

Pictured here around 1906 or 1907 is Hertha, on the right hand side of the back row. Standing next to Hertha is her sister Helen and next to Helen is Elsa, the eldest Gretsch sister. The woman seated in the center is Emily (Mill) Gretsch. Next to her is her sister Wilhelmina (Min) Gretsch. Emily and Wilhelmina were half sisters to Dora Gretsch. The father of all three girls was Jacob Gretsch. Emily, Wilhelmina and Dora were all born in Brooklyn and were first cousins of Hertha’s father, Fritz who was born in Germany. Hertha’s two brothers, Louie on the left and Herbert on the right complete the picture.

In May of 2001, I gave the original postcard to Dora Gretsch’s daughter, Elsa Sitzer Francisco.

“An electric railway from Newburgh affords easy and quick communication with New York.” from an ad in the Brooklyn Eagle, 1890’s.

Above the picture is a postcard from the Lakeside House where the postcard was addressed to Dora Gretsch. Perhaps, this card was enclosed in a envelope and so it wasn’t postmarked. Maybe, it was never sent.

Another picture of Emily, Wilhelmina, Helene and Hertha sitting by a lake was taken according to Ted Clauss at Red Bank, New Jersey where the Gretsch’s had a summer home.

These pictures given to me by Ted show a real closeness between Emily and Wilhelmina, and my father’s aunts and uncles. I never knew of this relationship until Ted told me about it in the early 1990’s.

December 13 Fred and Charlotte’s Gretsch’s second son Bill is born.

1907
Emily’s youngest sister Dora returns home from Europe. Dora was visiting with her friend Elfrieda. Elfrieda once lived in the neighborhood but returned to Germany to live.
According to Dora’s daughter, they were very good friends.

Dora ca. 1907
Perhaps, Dora was sent on this trip to help her forget her boyfriend, Dan Sitzer. Emily did not approve of Dan Sitzer.

This picture of Dan was postmarked 1907 with both a Brooklyn and a Catskill postmark. It was part of a torn postcard. He looks very dapper. It was found among Dora’s pictures.

Click to enlarge image

1908
Mr and Mrs. Max O. Jordan sailing for Europe. Perhaps, it is their honeymoom.
June 2, Elsa married
June 14 Fred and Charlotte’s third son, Richard Gretsch born in Brooklyn.

1909 Fred, Walter and Louie Gretsch are all in business in Brooklyn working together

1909 June 20, 1909 New York American, story abut the arrest of Mary Mallon, habeas corpus hearing New York Supreme court. press was sympathetic in 1909

“All the water in the world wouldn’t clear me from this charge in the eyes of the Health Department. they want to make a showing; they want to get credit for protecting the rich ,and I am the victim”.

1909 Octo 2, Fulton-Hudson parade, 100 year celebration of the discovry of steam ship and Henry Hudson.hug parade in NYC.

1910

According to the US Census, both Ralph Gretsch and Max O; Jorden are living in Brooklyn, married and working with flowers.
These cousins are still together.

Click to enlarge image

Elsa had remembered that someone was in the floral business but she couldn’t remember just who exactly.

Click to enlarge image

Picture of Dan circa 1910.
Apparently, Dan and Dora kept up a correspondence even if Emily was unhappy with the match.

1911
June 23
This hand drawn and tinted picture of Dora was found among her pictures.

Click to enlarge image

1912

Emily retired from teaching after 42 years in the Brooklyn school
Her first assignment was in Grammar School # 18, she later taught in Grammar school # 122 at Harrison and Haywood Street. James J. Reynolds was the principal there in 1913.

November 7 Daniel H. Sitzer (28)and Dorothy M. Gretsch (32) applied for a marriage license in Detroit, Michigan. He was an assembler, she was a bookkeeper. Their witnesses would be Charles H. McCurdy, and John L. Edwards. Pastor Christina Christianson would perform the ceremony.

November 28 Thanksgiving, Dora and Daniel were married in Detroit.

1914

September 25 Brooklyn Eagle, ” Edward Bush’s Former Pupils to Have His Portrait Painted. The old pupils of Public School No. 18, the old Maujer street school, are going to present to the new school which is being erected, a painting of Edward Bush, who is now 84 years of age, who was for seven years assistant and for fifty-six years principal of the school. He is the oldest living principal in Brooklyn….Mr. Bush retired nearly three years ago, after serving the city for sixty eight years, and today he serves the teachers as financial secretary of the Brooklyn Teacher’s Life Assurance Association.”

Emily went to school at Public School No. 18 on Maujer Street. She also taught there. She must have known this man.
1916 wrote family history for Schlegel

1917 Helped prepare Hertha for her trip to Hawaii and secretly for Asia.

1920
The US Census in Hoboken, New Jersey records that Hermann Wintermantel, age 58 is living with his sister, Emma Wintermantel Benzing, Emma’s hband Conrad and their four boys.
Hermann is working as a porter for an Hotel.

1922

May 22 Emily Gretsch signed an “Affidavit for a relative” for her cousin Max O Jordan as he applied for a US Passport.

Emily swore that Max was her cousin and that she had known him since he was 10 days old.

She signed her name “Emily Gretsch”.

1930
Brother Ralph and wife Alice are living at 111-04 Puritan Ave, Forest Hills.
This was not too far from where cousin Fred Gretsch lived with his three sons.Rosa Gretsch Kling was also near-by. Helene Gretsch Welsh and her husband were also near-by.

1931
In the early 1930’s, Dora and her family went to Brooklyn to visit with Emilie and wilhelmina.
According to her daughter Elsa, it was the first time that Dora had been back to her home at 670 Decatur Street since she left to get married in 1911.

Click to enlarge image

Pictures of the time show, show Emily, Wihelmina, Dora and her three teenage children, Dan, Elsa, Ed and their father, Daniel.
Elsa remembers that their father had to sleep in a cot in the basement. the implication was that Emily and Wilhelmina never liked Daniel Sitzer.

Click to enlarge image

These pictures were most likely taken in the back yard of 670 Decatur Street.

In the pictures from that day, a very attractive blonde woman was also present. She was also present in a picture of Emily some time later.
In 1941, an older attractive blond woman, has sent to Wilhelmina a photo of her and her husband in a tropical setting. Is this perhaps, the same woman who was with Emily and Wilhelmina in earlier pictures?
On the back of the photo is written ” to Miss Wilhelmina Gretsch from Mr. and Mrs. Irving S. Giergory (sp?), Oct 28, 1941, Photo taken at The Huntington Hotel, St. Petersburg, ?????? 1941″

There was a beautiful hotel in St. Petersburg with this name but the relationship between this woman and Emily and Wilhelmina remains unknown.

1936

September 19 Emily Gretsch wrote her will. Max O. Jordan is the executor. He is a first cousin to Emily’s half siblings, Dora, William and Ralph.
The witnesses are Eugene J.Keough and J. Vincent Keough.

She signs her name “Emily Gretsch”. She leave $1.00 to her brother William C. Gretsch. She leaves the entire balance of her estate to her sister Wilhelmina. If Wilhelmina should die first, the estate should go to her sister Dora and her brother Ralph.
The house on Decatur Street is valued at $52,000.

1937

January 3 The New York times reported that the Great Neck Garden Club would hold a meeting on the latest development of soil and hot bed management at the home of Mrs. Max. O. Jordan, on Wednesday at 2:30.

1938
January 15 Emily died (ten years before Gretchen the author of this website, was born to the day)
The cause of death was chronic myocarditis, contributing cause was arteriosclerosis.
She was 83 years, ten months and 3 days old.

April 26 Emily was buried in Greenwood Cemetery

55 years to the day her father Jacob Gretsch was buried there in 1883

October Wilhelmina is living in Middleville with her sister Dora.
Wilhelmina writes ”
State of New York , County of Herkimer,

I Wilhelmina T. Gretsch being duly sworn, says that William C. Gretsch was born at 102 Lewis Ave. City of Brooklyn, county of Kings State of New York on February 23, 1877.
Wilhelmina T. Gretsch, Ethel Francisco, Witness

Sworn to before me this 3rd day of Ocotober 1938, Grace Long Hagadorn, Notary.

1939

June 30 A post card is sent to :
Miss Minnie Gretsch, Middleville, New York (care of Mrs. Sitzer)
the picture on the front is the Hoffmeister Residence, Hoffmeister, New York. the post mark is Hoffmeister, NY
“Dear Miss Gretsch, here is the card I promised you. I have not felt very well since I had the cold in Middleville. Hopeyou are well and Mrs. Sitzer too please tell her I received her note and ??? love from Christina M. Hoff

This postcard gives a clue as to whom might have been a friend of Wilhelmina’s in upstate New York.

This postcard belongs now to Tracey Annable, Dora’s great granddaughter.

Thanksgiving Dora Gretsch’s daughter, Elsa Sitzer was married to Frank Francisco. Elsa tells me that they received a wedding present from Etta McCaffrey. The gift was a plate and Elsa was told at the time that this plate had a story. Perhaps, the story was about the break up of the house on Decatur Street.

1940

December 14 Wilhelmina T Gretsch residing in Middleville, and Dorothy Goeller residing at 850 Macom Street in Brooklyn, make an agreement. For the sum of $10 and other valuable consideration the party of the first part (Gretsch) grants and releases unto (Goeller) and her heirs…the property on Decatur Street.

1941
January 9 Just three weeks after the arrangement with the Dorothy Goeller, Wilhelmina moves into the Old Ladies Home in Mohawk, New York. She lived there until her death.

Wilhelmina had with her in the “Old Ladies Home” in Mohawk, a black photo album.
Elsa showed me this album in 2001 and told me that it belonged to her mother, Dora Gretsch Sitzer. Dora was Wilhelmina Gretsch’s half sister.
Dora also lived in the same home for several years before her death.
Elsa let me take the album home and study it further.

I discovered from two postcards that were in the album that the album actually had belonged first to Wilhelmina.
On the first page was a picture of Jacob. Below the picture, written in very old script in faded ink is the word “Father”.
Wilhelmina and Dora had the same father, Jacob Gretsch.
Opposite is a picture of a woman, Also written below the picture in very old script in fading ink is the word “Mother”.
This however does not look like a picture of Bertha, Dora’s mother.

Perhaps, it is Bertha but I tend to think it is Anna, Wilhelmina’s mother.

In this album is a cut out picture from a newspaper (ca 1940) with a picture of Fred Gretsch jr. The short article reads “Fred Gretsch, jr. treasurer of the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Co., and son of the President of the Lincoln Saving Bank of Brooklyn, who has been elected a trustee of the bank.”

Someone was keeping track of the Gretsch family in Brooklyn.

1949
July 26 In the early morning, Wilhelmina died at the age of 79 years, 2 months and 16 days.
The cause of death was chronic nephritis, contributing cause was arteriosclerosis. Wilhelmina had had the condition for two years.

Her ashes were later spread by the river along Creek Road and fishing Rock Road in Middleville by her sister Dora.

1955
After the death of his wife Alice, Ralph Gretsch came to live in Middleville with his sister Dora.
He spread Alice’s ashes along Creek Road and Fishing Road Road in Middleville.

July 16 Telegram sent to William C. Gretsch, Hotel Saint George, from Middleville.
“Ralph passed away this morning very unexpectedly. Funeral Monday at two= Dora”
Ralph ashes were also spread along Creek Road and fishing Rock Road by the river in Middleville.
Ralph was the youngest of all of Jacob’s children, he was born August 24, 1879.

1970
Dora died at the “Old Ladies Home’ in Mohawk, New York.
She was buried next to her husband in the cemetery in Middleville, New York.

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