Gretsch Family in Brooklyn, 1860-1916

Assembled from Brooklyn and Manhattan Directories, birth, death and cemetery records.

Emilie Gretsch wrote in her essay “The Gretsch Family in America” that her father Jacob Gretsch who was born in Germany in the 1820’s had been living in Belgium since 1848 before coming to the US in 1852. However, wedding, birth and death documents place Jacob in Trier in this interim time period, In Nov. 1849 Jacob signed a birth document in Trier for his daughter, Maria Rosina Dorothea.In Feb.1850, Jacob and Rosina Maria Artz were married in Trier. In Feb, 1851 his infant daughter Rosina died. In December 1851, Jacob signed a death certificate for his stillborn daughter also in Trier. So if Jacob had lived in Belgium, he didn’t live there long before he left for America in 1852. I found a Jacob B. Gretsch sailing from La Harve on the “Galia” on April 22, 1852. He is listed as a Wurtenburg farmer. On June 6, 1853, according to her daughter Emilie, Rosina Maria Artz arrived in NYC from La Harve. Having set sail on May 4th.
I found her leaving London on April 19th of that year on the ship “Wisconsin”. Emily born March 12, 1854. Rosina died in Brooklyn 1858. Her sister Anna came to US in 1854 and lived with her sister until Rosina’s death. Jacob married Anna in 1868.)


1859-1860 Jacob Gretsch, engraver 58 Miserole Street

(not found in 1860 census index in New York State)


Jacob Gretsch engraver 64 Nassau NY, 176 Montrose


Wilhemina Theodora born May 10


June 1, Emilie Gretsch gets her first teaching appointment in the Brooklyn schools.

June 5, August Gretsch comes to America

October 25, Pauline Gretsch comes to America. She is the daughter of Carl Gretsch from Boppard. Carl is the brother of Jacob Gretsch. Pauline is first cousin to Emilie and Wilhelmina.


October 14, Anna Gretsch died. Anna is the sister of Jacob’s first wife. She is Jacob’s second wife and the mother of Wilhelmina. The family lives at 329 South 2nd Ave.


Jacob Gretsch h 329 South 2nd Street.

May 13, Fritz Gretsch, nephew of Jacob comes to America. Fritz is first cousin to Emilie and Wilhelmina.


Jacob marries Bertha Wintermantel from the Black Forest Donaueschingen.


William Gretsch, step brother to Fritz Gretsch, is living at St. Mark’s Place

Louie Gretsch comes to America


Feb. 23, William Gretsch born, son of Jacob and Bertha

October 16, Pauline Gretsch, sister of Fritz Gretsch comes to America.


John Gretsch Jeweler h. 102 Lewis Ave

Anna Maria Philippina, (Aunt Bena) Feb. 21, Bena comes to America. She is a sister of Fritz, Louis and Pauline Gretsch.

July 8, Dora born to Jacob and Bertha.


Jacob Gretsch engraver h. 102 Lewis Ave

William Gretsch ( Jacob’s nephew) wines Fulton Street 37 4th St. E.D.

Lewis Gretch ( another nephew) bookkeeper 105 Wilson

Fritz marries Rosa, Fritz living at 46 E.39(?) New York


Frederick W. Bookkeeper 200 S 5th Street

Louis Gretsch Bookkeeper 105 Wilson

William Gretsch, home 35 Fourth St. Brooklyn. William Gretsch Wines 98 Fulton, William and Meyer, wines 98 Fulton

June 17, 1880

According to US Census, living with his wife Mary age 37 born in Germany. wine merchant William Gretsch wine merchant 37 4th E.D. ,

September 30, 1880

William Gretsch, 194 Kocziusko Street, Brooklyn, became an American Citizen. He first applied June 15, 1876.

Jacob lives at 102 Lewis Ave, with Bertha and children and Bena.


Jacob died April 23, 1883, 102 Lewis Ave


William Gretsch, 247 Vernon Street in Brooklyn, according to Louis Gretsch naturalization application.

Louie Gretsch, 58 E. 3rd Street, New York.


Fred Gretsch drums 134 1st Street E.D. home 866 Willoughby Ave

William Gretsch, 212 Vernon Ave home, 98 Fulton Street (same place as Louie years later)

Sept 1, Pauline Gretsch Benzing dies at 102 Lewis Ave.

Wilhelmina Gretsch graduated from P.S. 25 on Lafayette Ave not far from Lewis Ave.


Adolph Schnappauf died at 123 Vernon Ave. listed as banjo maker


At the time of their marriage, Max and Philipina Gretsch Morgner living at 300 East 20th, NYC. This building at 304 East 20th St is in 2003, the New York Health and Racket Club. Perhaps, the same builidng was there when Philippine and her husband lived nearby. In 2003, there is a children’s playground at the 300 number.PS 40 is just a little east of Philippine’s old building on the same block.This cornice is near east 20th and Second Ave and is of the same vintage as Philippine’s absent building.

It is interesting that Philippine and her husband lived in Manhattan. Most of the Gretsch family lived at the time in Brooklyn. Was she perhaps, attempting to show some independence after she returned from Germany? It didn’t last long. she soon moved to Brooklyn. By 1895, Max and Philippine were back in the same neighborhood. What drew them here? Did Max have family here?


Berta Gretsch Widow (Jacob) 340 Stockton “We had one flat in Stockton and just Grandmother and Herman had two rooms on same floor but in a different apartment” Dora letter 3/2/61

Frederick Gretsch banjos 130 Middleton h. 20 Hart St.

William Gretsch & Meyer wines 98 Fulton h. 268 Hart St.

(William Gretsch becomes involved with the Meyer family. His young nephew Fred Gretsch lives down the block on Hart Street. The Meyers have a cousin Charlotte Sommer. Carrie Meyer was in Charlotte’s mother’s wedding. This is all imagination but maybe it is how Fred and Charlotte met.)

Louie Gretsch plushgds, 78 Murphy h. 434 E 87th

Louis Gretsch wines & Rehmke 98 Fulton h 434 E87th St.

Louis clearly took over the wine business in 1890-91 from his older half-brother William who then probably went back to Heidelberg.

March, Louie’s 1st child Clara born.


1891 Louis Gretsch is listed in the Manhattan directory

Frederick Gretsch banjos 130 Middleton h. 20 Hart St.

Karl Gretsch, 442 Eighth Ave, Brooklyn

William Gretsch & Meyer wines 98 Fulton h. 268 Hart St.

Max and Philippine Morgner, 319 Marcy Ave.

Nov. Louie’s second child Olga born.


Karl Gretsch, 1618 8th Ave, Brooklyn, bookeeper

Bertha & her children living at Stockton, she died there in March

Emily and Wilhelmina living on 33 Central

Louie Gretsch ( as per guardianship papers) 501 Willoughby

Philippine Morgner 319 Marcy (baby Hans born here)

Baby Hans died at 96 South 10th Street.

Jacob Gretsch living at 319 Hart Street

Ursula Wintermantal ( Grandmother to Dora William and Ralph Gretsch) living at 73 Montrose.


August, Louie’s third child Wilhelmina born.


April 4, Wilhelmina and Emily bought property at 670 Decatur from A. Stuart and Harriet A. Walsh. They took a mortgage from A. Stuart and it was discharged Feb. 29, 1898.

Max Morgner, engraver, 96 South 10th Street, Brooklyn


Louis Gretsch listed in Manhattan directory

Louis Gretsch Wines & Meyer & Rehmke 98 Fulton h. 20 Vernon Brooklyn

April, Fritz died in Germany. His step brother William is already living in Germany.

Max Morgner, engineer (?) h. 303 E. 19th St. NYC

Philippine Morgner, 247 E. 21st ST. NYC

Feb.2, Caroline Schnappauff died at 20 Hart Street

Lain’s Brooklyn Directory (on the net):

Rosa Gretch (sic) w’Fred’k musicalinst.mfr 108 S.4th.h.20 Hart

Gretsch, Charles cigars 96 Fulton St.NYC, h. 1618 8th Ave

Gretsch, Emily dressmaker, h.670 Decatur

Gretsch, Fred’k, musicalinsts. 20 Hart

Gretsch, Louie, wines, NY h. 20 Vernon Ave.

Jacob Gretsch dies at 247 E. 21st Street NYC. For more information see Manhattan Histsorical Addresses.


Februray 29, Emilie and Wilhhelmine pay off their mortgage early. Emily made extra money making dresses.

July, 25th, Max Morgner died at 247 E. 21st Street (Manhattan)This is a larger view of the building across from Philippine address.

Max Morgner bdgh. 247 E. 21st Street(Were Max and Philippine running a bdgh (Boardinghouse)when he died?)


Rosa is living at 20 Hart Street

David Kling working as a butler at 157 Clinton Street, Husted

Charles and Sophie Gretsch, Robert age 7, 8th Ave, Brkly

Emilie and Wilhelmina living at 670 Decatur

Philippine Gretsch Morgner living at Bay 22nd St near Cropsey (running a boarding house)


Fred Gretsch, Musical Instruments, 104 S. 4th St. h. 20 Hart

Louis, wine 42 Frankfort St. Mhtn., h 20 Vernon Ave

Rosa, widow Fred, 20 Hart Street. ( Their house is sold in October to Josephine Gatter, valued at $8,000)


Rosa Gretsch and children living on Bay 25th Street & Benson Ave . Not far from Philippine Gretsch Morgner.


Fred living in Bensonhurst at time of his marriage to Charlotte.


Fred and Charlotte, 178 Nostrand Ave, birth of Fred, March 10th

Philippine Gretsch Morgner living at Bay 20th near Benson Avenue.

William Gretsch, son of Jacob and Bertha, and his wife and two children are living in Philippine Morgner’s boarding house.

Rosa Gretsch is living at Bay 25th St. & Benson Avenue in Bensonhurst. Walter Gretsch is living there too.

April 24, 1905 The Fred Gretsch Realty Company is incorporated. Rosa, Fred and Walter sign the papers


Dec 13, 285 Kingston Ave, William Gretsch, son of Fred and Charlotte Sommer Gretsch is born.


April 13, Louie Gretsch dies, 20 Vernon Street

Louis Gretsch & Co., very goodClick on image to enlarge.

This jug which says “L. Gretsch & Co. 142-44 Grand St., NY” was found by William Gretsch, great great grandson of Jacob Gretsch.  During his high school years in Morris Plains, New Jersey,  William (Bill) Gretsch worked at Merchant’s Hardware Store.  He graduated from Morristown High School in 1951.  Bill Gretsch found this jug in a store room there and was allowed to buy it.  Bill thinks the jug was probably in the store when the Merchants first bought the business.  As of yet, we have no history of the jug, other than it probably came from the liquor business of Louis Gretsch, who was the brother of my great grandfather. Since it was purchased circa 1950, this jug has held a prominent spot in first Bill’s father’s home and now in his own home.

June 24, Rosa living on 71 Bay 25th Street at time of her marriage to David Kling

Helene Gretsch applied to Emerson College of Oratory in Boston and gave her address as 496 Hancock Street, Brooklyn.

June 15(?) Dick Gretsch, son of Fred and Charlotte Sommer Gretsch is born.


June 2, Elsa living at 285 Kingston Ave at time of her marriage to Joseph Clausee. Louis and Helen are witnesses. This is the home of her brother Fred and his wife, Charlotte.
Elsa and Joseph L. Clauss were married in Richmond Hill, which is  where Elsa’s mother, Rosa,  lived.
Perhaps, Elsa is helping out with the three young sons, Fred, Willie Walter and Richard.
Or perhaps, she is teaching at a school near-by her brother’s home and it is easiet for her to live with them.



March 31, Teddy Clauss born


Emilie Gretsch teacher 670 Decatur

Fred 104 South 4th St. h. 385 Kington Ave.

Carl Gretsch cigars, 576 Central Street


December, Philippine Gretsch Morgner committs suicide at Bay 23rd St. Street, Myra Cottage

Fred Gretsch and family living at 1460 President Street.


January 15, Emily Gretsch died at 670 Decatur Ave.

Checked Brooklyn death records Gretsch:

1936 Hertha Jan.18,





1923 Charles Gretsch 61 years old #13276






Brooklyn Marriages

1884-1894 no Gretsch marriages except for Charles 6-2-91

No Benzing, no Morgner

1877 -1878- No Benzing- no Gretsch

79, 80, 81 -No Benzine

81-82- No Gretsch

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