Rosa Behman Schnapauff Gretsch Kling


May 16 Rosa’s future husband, Friedrich (Fritz) Gretsch is born in Mannheim.

June18 Rosa Behman Born USA

Time of economic panic.

According to Rosa’s grandson, Teddy Clauss, when Rosa was a baby her parents died in the Cholera epidemic. Rosa was adopted by her parent’s friends, Carolina and Adolph Schnapauff. They had no children of their own.

N.B. The spelling of Schnapauff differs on various records. I have chosen to be consistent with the spelling found on Rosa’s wedding certificate in 1879.

Teddy’s memory is the only record we have of Rosa’s birth parents

Carolina and Adolph are buried at the Evergreens Cemetery Brooklyn.

July 4 Rosa was 6 years old and the Civil War raging. The canons guarding the city of New York were fired all day long.

Previously, they had been fired every morning in order to let the people know that there were boats and guns guarding them least they be invaded by the confederate troops.

July 13 New York Draft Riots, hundreds of blacks killed. This was the largest civil disturbance in American History to date.

November Alice Adams, sister of Henry Adams, was taken to 1303 Broadway near 35th street to the home of Dr. Taylor to be treated.

Rosa’s future brother in law, August Gretsch, enlisted in the US Army in New York City on May 17, 1864. The civil war was still raging.  August was 17 years old at the time of enlistment. His younger brother Fritz, Rosa’s future husband had not yet come to America.
August was discharged October 1, 1865 in Nashville, Tennesee.

(N.B see the 1958 letter of Rosa’s third son, Louis Gretsch to his cousin Bill Gretsch SR. of Morris Plains, New Jersey. “When I (Louis worked for a short time for his older brothers as a traveling sales man) was in California in 1908 I wrote to my uncle Bill in Heidelberg. He sent me the address of his brother, August, in Nevada, who I intended to call on but I never made it. August had changed his name to Powers and had a large well educated family of I think seven children. After fifty years there should be at least five hundred.”

This letter of 1958 shows the closeness of the Gretsch family in the early 1900’s with their uncle William Gretsch who at the time was living in Heidelberg. It also points out how distant Rosa and her children were from Fritz’s older brother August who was living in Nevada.

April 14 Good Friday evening, Lincoln was shot.

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

April 20 This day was first designed as a of rejoicing in the Union victory. It was turned into a day of National mourning.


April 24 Lincoln’s body arrived in New York at 10 am and was transported to City Hall.

On Tuesday, a large parade accompanied the body to the train station.

As the article below shows, all the city was involved in the sad ceremonies.

Perhaps, Rosa age 9 was there for these momentous ceremonies with her father.

Marion Gretsch Wells, Rosa’s granddaughter born in 1926, remembers her father Louie Gretsch telling her that Rosa saw Abraham Lincoln in New York City when she was a child. Perhaps, it was actually the funeral procession for the assassinated President that Rosa saw as a child.

Two more presidents would be assassinated in Rosa’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


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, the older brother of Rosa’s future husband is mustered out of the US Army in Nashville, Tennesee.


January 13 The East River running between Manhattan and Brooklyn froze. For a short while it was possible to walk from New York to Brooklyn. Rosa’s grandson, my uncle Fred talked about this. His grandmother must have told him the stories about the event from her childhood. She was 10 years old at the time. Or perhaps, he heard the story from his mother’s mother, Theresa Leicht who was a young girl living in Manhattan at the same time.

Negotiations on the Brooklyn Bridge began.


June William Roebling injures his foot while surveying for the bridge and dies of tetanus days later. His son Washington continues. Caissons begin to be built for Brooklyn Bridge



June 15 German reform party elected Wm. Havemeyer Mayor of NYC

fall Economic crash and panic, great depression begins.


January 13 Tompkins Sq. Riots.

Hand of the stature of Liberty was placed on 5th Ave.

May 13 Rosa’s future husband, Fritz Gretsch (age 16) arrived in America at Castle Garden.

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 Fritz would work for his older brother in the liquor business.

Instead, he went to work for the long defunct drum and banjo manufacturer, Albert Houdlett & Son.(Music Trades Magazine)

Fritz, 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.

Fritz also had two first cousins Emily born in 1856 and Wilhelmina born in 1869. Like Rosa, they were born in Brooklyn of German born parents.

Over the years, Emily 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 Emily Gretsch.

Fritz’s mother’s brothers was also settled in California when he arrived in America.


Jacob Edward von Gerichten comes to New York from Hamburg. He is the uncle of Fritz Gretsch.

Did he stay in New York with Jacob Gretsch or perhaps, William Gretsch. Or perhaps, his nephews Fred and Louis Gretsch.


In September of 1875, Fritz’s father, died in Mannheim. The store on Marketplatz lasted until this year and afterwards could no longer be found in the directories.

In this same year, in New York City, Fritz’s brother, William Gretsch opened his wine store.

It is interesting that the death of Fritz’s  and William’s father, coincided with the opening of  William’s own store in America. Perhaps, William used part of his inheritance to begin his business.


January 13 Custer dies at battle of little big horn.

Centennial exhibition at Philadelphia.

June 17 Louis Gretsch brother of Fritz comes to America.


Fritz’s sister Pauline arrives from Germany.

William Gretsch, Fritz’s older half brother is married in Manhattan


Fritz’s sister Anna Maria Philippine, Bena, arrives from Germany.

November 10th Fritz’s sister Pauline Gretsch is married to Conrad Benzing in Manhattan.

Fritz (aka Fred Gretsch) is a witness with Mary Schmann


Feb. 1 Rosa married Fritz Gretsch. According to her wedding certificate, she was 22 years old and born in 1856. She lived at 200 South 5th Brooklyn.

Fritz lived at 46 E 3rd NYC. His occupation was ” Colloring”???

Witnesses were Louis Gretsch and Fredick Kilian.

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.


February 10

Click to enlarge image

Rosa’s first child Fred is born (Physician/Midwife- Dr.Rebmanny). Rosa’s husband 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.

This document is dated April 5, 1880.

Note the three different professions of Fritz Gretsch in this short time frame: a different occupation when Rosa and Fred were married, a different one in the US Census and a different one on the birth certificate of their first child.

It is also believed that during this period Fritz was an apprentice at the drum and banjo firm of Albert Houdlett & Son.

June 2 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.

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.

Jacob Gretsch with his wife Bertha and children are living at 102 Lewis Ave.

Bena, Fritz’s youngest sister is living with Jacob and his family.

April Pauline Gretsch and Conrad Benzing’s first child, Pauline, is born in New Jersey.


Dec.6 Frederick William von Gerichten died in San Francisco. He was the brother of Anna Maria’s von Gerichten Gretsch, mother of Rosa’s husband.

He was the oldest of all of Anna Maria’s brothers. Fritz was no doubt named after him. This uncle had left for America soon after Fritz was born in Mannheim.

He leaves a wife Josephine and possibly two children, Fred Gerichten and a daughter Anna Maria born in 1860.

He was buried in the family vault in San Francisco which was later moved to Greenlawn in Coloma.

There is a large contingent of Fred’s family in California. Gerichten uncles and cousins in San Diego and in San Francisco.


April 8, Rosa’s second son, Walter Gretsch is born. (Died May 28, 1940. After a long illness.)
In 1882, a daughter is born to Fritz’a brother,  William Gretsch and his wife, Mary. This is their only child and she died in infancy.


April, Another girl cousin is born. Wilhelmina Benzing born in New Jersey. The daughter of Fritz’s sister, Pauline Gretsch.

April 23,  Jacob Gretsch dies at 102 Lewis Ave. He leaves a widow and 4 minor children. His oldest daughter Emily is 29.

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

“Built by the Albert Houdlett & 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 known for) drums. The Gretsch company is still in business today. The Albert Houdlett & Son drum and banjo company closed its doors around 1930.

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.

Rosa and Fred I’m sure walked across the bridge with their young sons and 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.

November 28 Louis, third son of Rosa and Fritz born in Brooklyn. (Died May 6, 1959, suddenly)


March 24 Fritz’s sister, Auguste Katharine Gretsch von Hellerman gives birth to a daughter in San Diego California.

Augusta Katharine is the 4th of the nine children of Anna Maria von Gerichten and Wilhelm Gretsch.

She is called “Katie”.

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.

Katherine 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. This shows the closeness between Willaim Gretsch and his younger brother, Louis. Louis will take over William’s Liquor Business when William and his wife return to Germany in 1893.

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

July 3 Fritz’s two younger brothers Philip and Jacob come to American.

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


Fred and Rosa live on 866 Willoughby Ave.

Drums 134 1st Street E.D.

September 5 Fritz’s sister Pauline dies at 102 Lewis Ave. She has been there for 2 months while she has been ill.

Her sister, Bena is now living with Jacob’s family helping take care of the children.

Bertha Gretsch, Jacob’s widow is sickly. On 3/2/1961, Jacob’s daughter, Dora Gretsch wrote about the confusion in Jacob Gretsch’s family in that period.

“Frank (Wintermantel- brother of Dora’s mother) never lived at Stockton Ave. Frank left for Mexico while we were still at Lewis Ave. He was instrumental in getting Grandmother, Herman, Carl and Aunt Emma who married Conrad Benzing over from Germany then cleared out and left them on Mother and Aunt Jordan.”

December 27 Rosa’s first daughter, Elsa Gretsch born.

Click to enlarge image

This picture of Rosa’s oldest son, Fred was taken around this time.


May, 1886, Bena Gretsch (the youngest Gretsch sister) returned to Mannheim, perhaps to care for her step-mother Justine Fuchs Gretsch. In November of 1886, another Gretsch sister, Katie Gretsch von Hellerman returned from America to Mannheim. Bena returned to America one year later, in October of 1887. Justine died in May of 1888. Unfortunately, passports were not necessary for women so their travels are harder to document.

However, it is clear that there was still movement of the Gretsch family in and around Mannheim as late as 1888. William Gretsch would move there in 1893.


October 13 Helene Gretsch born, second daughter of Rosa and Fritz. At this same time, Bena is returning from Mannheim.

William Gretsch is living at 212 Vernon Ave.

December 2 Rosa’s stepfather, Adolph Schnapauff dies. He had been living at 128 Vernon Ave. His occupation is listed as “Banjo manufacturer”. Quite possibly he was working for his son in law.


May 5 Bena, Fred’s youngest sister, also known as Philippine married Max Morgner. He is 26, she is 29. Carl Gretsch and Henry Stauf were witnesses. Bena and Max were both living at the same address at the time of their wedding. 300 E. 20th Street in Manhattan.

November Hertha Gretsch born, third daughter of Rosa and Fritz.


Fred and Rosa Gretsch are living at 20 Hart Street. This is located between Myrtle Ave to the North and Lafayette street to the south, Marcy to the East and Nostrand to the west .

Click to enlarge image

Rosa’s oldest son Fred proudly poses with his bicycle outside of the family home at 20 Hart Street. Note the flower in his lapel. Placed there no doubt by Rosa or Fred’s grandmother, Caroline Schnappauff.

Click to enlarge image

This picture of 20 Hart Street was taken in 1996 by me, Rosa’s great granddaughter, Gretchen Elsner-Sommer. Teddy took me there first in 1995. I returned with my husband David W. Cohen in 1996. Note, more than 100 years later the iron fence and the stoop just below the fense still remain. Also the curved stone work on either side of the gated lower window remains. In 1996, there is no garden in front, only space to store garbage cans.

William Gretsch is living at 268 Hart Street.

Frederick Gretsch Banjo’s 130 Middleton

Berta Gretsch Widow (Jacob) 340 Stockton

Again Dora’s letter of 3/2/61 describes the time frame. “We had one flat in Stockton and just Grandmother and Herman had two rooms on same floor but in a different apartment”

Dora goes on to describe the fissure of the time…” Millie and Minnie never lived on Willoughby Ave. It was Hart St. and from there they moved to Grove St. a one way block and then to Decatur St. and now we have buried all that under the Blizzard of ’88.”

What was it that was all buried under the Blizzard?

Millie and Minnie, Jacob’s daughter from earlier marriages were obviously living apart from their widowed step mother. The chaos caused by all of their step mother’s family arriving from Germany must have driven Millie and Minnie to search for a separate place to live.

Emily or Millie was working as a school teacher.

March Clara Gretsch, daughter of Louis and Clara Gretsch born.


March 6 Patent applied for a banjo by Frederick Gretsch

June Bena Gretsch Morgner’s first child is born.

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 Gretsch born.


February 16 Enumeration for Kings county:

Frederick Gretsch 36 years old no occupation is written

Rosa Gretsch, 35 years old

Walter Gretsch, 10 years old

Frederick Gretsch, 12 years old

Louis Gretsch, 7 years old

Elsa Gretsch, 6 years old

Helene Gretsch, 4 years old

Hertha Gretsch, 3 years old

Herbert Gretsch, 1 year old

Bertha Gretsch dies. She leaves three young children orphans. William 15, Dora 14, Ralph 13. These children were very close to the Fred and Rosa Gretsch family. They would all take vacations together to the Catskills.

Elsa and Dora were “very close-most like sisters” Dora wrote this in a letter dated Oct. 3, 1961 to her nephew William Gretsch.

“Little do we think when we are children how we separate when we grow older. Just as well.”

Court proceeding begin for the guardianship of the younger children of Jacob and Bertha Gretsch.

Click on the image to see an enlargement This picture of Rosa’s husband Fred and their three sons was probably taken around this time. Note the American flag in the background. The name of the boat they are pictured on is the “Henrietta”.

This picture is very similar to the picture taken a few years later with Rosa and the children also in a “make believe” boat. See 1894.

May 25, 1892, William Gretsch acted as a witness for Florentine von Gerichten and her daughter, Katie von Gerichten when they applied in New York for their passports. Florentine and her daughter lived in California.
This proves that the Gretsch family and the von Gerichten family kept in touch even though they lived on separate coasts in America.
William was related to the von Gerichten family though his step-mother, Anna Maria von Gerichten.  His younger half- siblings were directly related through their mother. Florentine was the widow of Anna Maria’s brother, C. P von Gerichten, Katie was the daughter of C. P and his first wife. Katie was a first cousin of Mannheim Gretsch children.

August 30

Tuesday night “In August a number of Russian Jews arrived in Hamburg to take passage to America. It was found that there was Cholera among them. No announcement was made of the fact by the public authorities in Hamburg, but the infected persons and those suspected of infection were isolated in a camp above the city and on the banks of the Elbe into which the drainage of the camp emptied. The water for drinking and cooking in Hamburg comes from the Elbe. In a little while there were cases of Cholera in Hamburg, and among the regular residents of the city. These cases were concealed by the authorities and it was not known till the plague had become epidemic that Cholera had reached the city.”

The “Moravia” a two mast steamer of the Hamburg line arrived from Hamburg in lower New York bay.

The next morning she was found to have cholera aboard. The president of the US who was visiting Westchester county, New York hurried back to Washington and issused a proclainmation that all sailing ships from infected ports should be kept in quarnetine for twenty days after arriving in any US port.

Meanwhile, the health department in NYC was preparing should the plague come ashore by flushing streets with water and disinfectent.


“Harper’s Weekly”, September 17, 1892.

Translated by Borge Solem, 2005

Cholera arrived from Europe but was kept at bay by the quarantine of the ports. William T. Jenkins the heath officer of the port of New York was responsible for preventing the spread of Cholera.

Cholera and its spread was certainly the talk of New York at this time.

Jenkins had taken severe steps to quarentine ships coming into the country from Hamburg.
It is most interesting to note that the book “Good Night, Sweet Prince” by Gene Fowler printed in 1944 tells the story of John Barrymore. In the beginning of this book there is a short recap of an epidsode with the Barrymoroe children’s pet mokey and Dr. William T. Jenkins. It was this story which led me to futher reserach on the Cholerea epidemic in New York harbor in the 1890’s. The Barrymore children, Lionel, Ethel and John, had taken their pet to the doctor who was responsible for the quarrentines which held the ships in check.

The Fuerst Bismark was one of the ships that was quarantined in 1892. It was the ship which Fritz would sail on two years later. The ship on which he contracted cholera.

In 1892, ships were detained in New York harbor and passengers were quarantined on Fire Island. Hospitals were set up on Swinburne Island and Hoffman Island.

Also, in 1892, there was an economic slump and the Gretsch family started buying land! Marion Gretsch Wells, daughter of Louie Gretsch told me (Gretchen Elsner-Sommer) this in 2012.
N.B. This  is right before Friedrich brought the land on South Fourth Street!


May 16 Robert William Gretsch, son of Sophie and Karl Gretsch born in Brooklyn

May 17 Fritz Gretsch purchased land on South Fourth Street from Samuel and Emma Hill.

Although the business was housed at the time on Middleton Street, Fritz must have been planning on moving into this Williamsburg neighborhood where there was talk that another Bridge to Manhattan would soon be built.

In July of 1895, just months after Fritz’s death, Rosa purchased this mortgage back from Schwim.

Construction on the Williamsburg started three years later.

May 26 On this date, Florentine Von Gerichten, Aunt of Rosa’s husband Fritz, returned to New York from Europe.

Florentine had obviously been traveling in Europe with her children for one year. She surely was visiting her sister in Dresden who was married to the brother of her late husband.

Florentine (age 49) was the widow of Fred’s uncle C.P. von Gerichten. They had been married in California in 1870 (?). C. P. died in San Diego in 1884.

Florentine was traveling with her step daughter Katie, several of her daughters who were all cousins of Fred and her 8 year old Granddaughter, Ella. Ella was approximately the age of Elsa Gretsch.

Kate, age 24, Lena, age 21, Amy age 17, Elle age 11, and a granddaughter, Ella Wentschler, age 8.

Surely, Florentine and her daughters was in contact with Fritz and Rosa and their children. The children of Fred and Florentine’s girls were not so far apart in age.

This group traveled on the Furst Bismark which Fred himself would travel to Europe on just two years later. The same ship that had been quarantined the summer before.
Rosa Gretsch would have kept up with all this going and coming of her husband’s family to and from Germany. She would have been especially aware of her brother in laws plans to return to Germany for an extended period.

June of 1893, Wilhelm Gretsch and his wife Marie (Mary) went back to Germany. “I was compelled to change my residence in 1893 because I was suffering from serious stomach disease and from nervous breakdown.” They lived in Mannheim for a while and then moved to Heidelberg. “I was always anxious to maintain my American citizenship and was registered at the American consulate in Mannheim repeatedly.” (Passport application 1915).

There seems to be a growing number of Gretsch family and Von Gerichten family members who came to America and then returned to Germany to live permanenty. William Gretsch and Conrad von Gerichten returned to Germany at about the same time and no doubt kept up their relations while Conrad was in Dresden and William lived in Mannheim. Conrad’s children, cousins of the Mannheim Gretsch children also moved to Germany from their birthplace in California. Hints of a close relationship between the Gretsch and Von Gerichten family can be found in Charlotte Sommer Gretsch’s address book from the 1920’s. Here, Katie Gretsch von Hellerman is listed as living in Dresdan. Katie Gretsch von Hellerman was the sister of Fritz Gretsch. She had come to American in the early 1880’s to live with her von Gerichten uncle C. P. von Gerichten in San Diego. She then moved back to Germany in the mid 1880’s. Perhaps, Katie Gretsch von Hellerman was living with or near her von Gerichten relatives in Dresden. She certainly had a relationship with this side of the family in California in the 1880’s and perhaps, she was continuing this relationship.

Checking these records, one gets a sense of a close family relationship between the von Gerichten family and the Gretsch family.


February 18 Rosa and Fritz purchased section 8 block 2241 on Middleton Ave. the block is surrounded by Harrison Ave. Lorimier Street and March Avenue.

They took a $1,500.00 mortgage from Frederick Schwim.

Fritz had purchased several lots prior to this but this is the first one which also has Rosa’s name on the agreement.

Perhaps, Rosa was started to take more of an interest in the business ventures of her husband.

Click to enlarge image

This picture of Rosa’s daughters Elsa age 8 and Helen was found in the papers of Helene Welsh when she died in Palm Beach.

The caption reads ” An 1894 view of Grand Army Plaza from the collection of the Long Island Historical Society.”

Teddy has identified the girls in the picture as “Mother” and “Aunt Helen Welch”

July 25 Fred Gretsch, Rosa’s husband witnesses the naturalization of his younger brother Jacob at the County Court in Kings County, New York.

Fred was living at 20 Hart Street and Jacob was living at 96 South 10th Street.

Notice that Jacob is living at the same address as his older sister, Bena and her husband Max Morgner.

Click to enlarge image

This is the first picture I can find of Rosa. It was given to me by her grandson Teddy Clauss. The picture was probably taken around the time of her husband’s death.

On the back of the picture is information about the Photographer S.T, Harding. The picture was probably taken at Sea Cliff, Long Island, a very popular sea side resort of Long Island. It is dated 1894.

Teddy made a diagram of the picture to identify everyone in the picture. He identifies his grandmother as MuMu and entitles the picture : Summering at Sea Cliff, L.I.

Rosa and her family would have taken a boat from Brooklyn rounded Sands Point and entered Hempstead Harbor. They they docked at the steam boat dock and spent the day or a few days at this resort town.

“From the 1880s through the early 1900s, steamboats made daily round trips from New York City to Sea Cliff and other towns on the north shore.”

To see the origin of the above quote and read more about Sea Cliff at the time that Rosa and her family visited go to:

Gertrude Gretsch Flemm Wells, the daughter of Louie Gretsch and the grandaughter or Rosa told me ( GES ) in 2009 that Helene always told her nieces and nephews that she was the youngest of the Gretsch children. However, when this picture was re-discovered, it became obvious that Helene was not the youngest child. Hertha and Herbert were both younger than she.


Gretsch business was located at 108 South 4th Street.

April 10, Wednesday Fritz Gretsch wrote his will the day before he was to leave for Europe.

Witnesses were John Bunneman and Florence Callahan both of 55 Hart Street. He left everything to his wife Rosa. In the case of her death or remarriage the children and their issue would receive everything.

The fast that this will was made the night before Fritz left on his trip to Europe suggested that it was a hurried action, left till the last minute.

There must have been many plans made for this trip to Europe but writing a will with its suggestion of death was not foremost in the family’s mind.

April 11 Fritz sailed on the Fuerst Bismark for Southampton.

This was the same ship that was quarantined in New York Harbor in 1892. It was also the ship that Fritz’s von Gerichten cousins had traveled on from Hamburg in 1893. (see above)

I imagine that the family felt that the threat of Cholera was now passed.

Crossing the Atlantic took 6 days and nine hours in 1894 according to “Friend” a religious and literary journal of the day.

Accordingly, Fritz would have arrived in Hamburg around the 19th or 20th with stopping off in Southampton.

April 28, Sunday Rosa’s husband, Fritz died from cholera at 4:30 in the afternoon at Glockengießerwall 16, Hamburg.

Perhaps, Fritz got sick on board ship or perhaps he became sick shortly after arriving in Hamburg.

His brother William who was at the time living in Mannheim was no doubt expecting his arrival. He would have been notified of Fritz’s illness. William arrived in Hamburg in time to sign his younger brother’s death certificate on April 29.

Death Certificate for Friedrich Gretsch:

Sterbeurkunde Friedrich Gretsch


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.

Saturday, May 18 “Today the will of Frederick Gretsch who died on April 28, leaving an estate valued at $28,000 was filed for probate at the Surrogate. Mr. Gretsch was a musical instrument manufacturer. The entire estate is bequeath to his widow, six sons and one daughter. At the time of his death Mr. Gretsch was visiting Hamburg, Germany.”

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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. His relationship to the Gretsch family other than the above is yet to be determined.

June 19 Rosa purchased from the Williamburg Savings Bank a mortgage for Section 8, Block 2218, Liber 2, pp. 216-217. This is a block surrounded by Penn Street, Lee, Ave. Ritledge St. and Bedford Ave.

Fritz had originally purchased this lot in February of 1887. He probably owed money on it and the estate was discharging some of the debt by buying this mortgage and the three which followed.

July 17 Rosa brought back the $1,500 mortgage from Frederick Schwim which she and Fritz had purchased on February 28, 1894. ( Liber 2536 p102, March 6, 1894) This is section 8 Blook 2241. This is Middleton Ave. property.

August 18 Rosa brought back a mortgage from Charles Stephenson. (section 8, Block 2241, Liber 2 pg 44). Rosa pays $900.00 for this

August 18 Rosa purchases a mortgage from Adriana Bush for $3,900.00 (section 6, Block 1770, liber 11, p.41) This block is bounded by Hart, Marcy, Pulaski and Nostrand.

This is the family home.

This mortgage was originally given to Thomas E. Greenland in 1889. Fritz had most likely taken over the mortgage when he purchased the property in 1890. Rosa was now taking possession of the mortgage i.e. she now did not owe anything on the house.

Perhaps, Rosa in conjunction with Louie Gretsch the executor of her husband’s estate thought it was best to pay off this mortgage. This debt was no longer part of the estate. The estate probably gave Rosa the money to pay this debt.

November 16 Rosa purchased a burial lot for her husband at Green-Wood Cemetery.

When Rosa purchased this plot, she was making quite an independent statement.

Up until this date, all the members of the Gretsch family who had died in America were buried at a different Brooklyn cemetery, the Evergreen Cemetery. Even Rosa’s adopted parents were buried at the Evergreen Cemetery. The Evergreen Cemetery was a newer cemetery which was established about a decade later than the Green-Wood. Green-Wood Cemetery was quite a different place.

This was the forth real estate transaction which Rosa had made in the short span since her husband’s death. It is easy to assume that the independence and foresight, which Rosa exhibited in choosing this Greenwood Cemetery over the Evergreen Cemetery was also exhibited in the other decisions she made after her husband’s death.

November 27,

Rosa’s arranged for her husband to be buried at Green-Wood Cemetery on this date.

This was the day before Thanksgiving.

National and international laws which attempted to control the spread of cholera made it very difficult to retrieve Fritz’s body from Europe. It was not until late November that his body could be returned home for burial.

This cemetery was established in 1838. Henry Pierrepont worked hard to on the planning and execution of this cemetery. ” His vision was crucial to Green-Wood Cemetery’s creation.” His father, Hezekiah B. Pierrepont was instrumental in the development of Brooklyn Heights. (see Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, Jeffrey I. Richman, Stinehour Press, Lunenburg, Vermont, 1998). As we shall see, Rosa and Fred’s third son, Louis, lived in Brooklyn Heights as did Rosa and her family for a while.

“Founded in 1838 as one of America’s first rural cemeteries, the Green-Wood Cemetery soon developed an international reputation for its magnificent beauty and became the fashionable place to be buried. By 1860, Green-Wood was attracting 500,000 visitors a year, rivaling Niagara Falls as the country’s greatest tourist attraction. Crowds flocked to Green-Wood to enjoy family outings, carriage rides and sculpture viewing in the finest of first generation American landscapes. Green-Wood’s popularity helped inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Park. (

Rosa in making this decision to buy a family plot here was placing her husband’s name among the great families who helped shape New York. She was in fact separating her husband from his siblings, uncle and cousins and recording his name and his memory in a place with an international reputation, the Green-Wood Cemetery.


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.

In 1897, Hertha was approximately 7 years old. She was the youngest girl in the family and apparently the most reserved. No doubt she had been saddened by the sudden death of her father and so soon afterwards, the death of her grandmother. Jacob Hyman and Hertha would become good friends in the years to come.

In this year, the Frederick Gretsch Musical Instruments first appeared on South 4th Street.

Rosa Gretsch w’Fred’k musicalinstmfr 108 S.4th. h.20 Hart.

Incredible to see Rosa’s name as the main name in the manufacturing line.

October 24 Jacob Gretsch, Rosa’s youngest brother in law died of Tuberculosis. He died at the home of his older sister, Bena.

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 his older sister, Bena Gretsch Morgner and her husband Max. He was 30 years old.

It must have been a very sad time for the Gretsch children to loose so many relatives in such a short period of time. 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.


July 25 The husband of Rosa’s sister in law, Philippine Gretsch Morgner dies. Max Morgner is buried at a Mount Pleasant Gravesite in Evergreen Cemetery. Also buried there is his infant son Hans Morgner and his sister in law, Pauline Gretsch Benzing.


July 6 Louis Gretsch graduates from Grammar School # 25. this was on Lafayette Street not far from Lewis Ave. It was only about a six block walk from 20 Hart Street. Wilhelmina T. Gretsch, daughter of Jacob Gretsch graduated from here in 1885. Probably, this is the school which all of the Rosa’s children attended.

December 29 George Seidenzahl died after a short illness. He was 38 years old. He was one of the executors of Rosa’s husband’s estate. He lived at 20 Van Buren Street. Perhaps, they were friends and Rosa attended the funeral. In 1895, he lived at 23 Broadway.


According to the US Census, Rosa is living on Hart Street with her seven children. She owns her own house and is listed as working for Musical Instruments along with her two sons. There is no boarder living at the house.

She is listed as 39 years old and born in 1861.

In this year, Rosa’s son, Louie, went to work for the Eleventh Ward Bank of New York. He was 17 years old.


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

Rosa, widow Fred, h.20 Hart Street.

(Brooklyn Directories)

October 3 The house on Hart Street is sold to Josephine M. Gatter. The family moves to Bath Beach very near to where Bena (Philippine) Gretsch Morgner and her daughter Johanna live. Johanna and Hertha are first cousins and very close in age. Quite possibly they were close friends while they were growing up. Both girls grew up without a father and both girls traveled very far from home as soon as they were able.


Rosa is living at Bay 25th Street and Benson Avenue with her children.

March 31 Josephine M. Gatter sold the house on Hart street Frederick Jeagle (sp?).

June 2 The Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company is incorporated in Brooklyn. Rosa, Walter and Fred are listed as Directors.


January 20 Hertha’s brother Fred marries Charlotte Sommer. Walter and Elsa are the witnesses.

According to Emily Gretsch’s article in Schlegel’s German American Families, Louie Gretsch ” at the age of seventeen secured a position in the Eleventh Ward Bank of New York where he remained for three years. He then connected with the Frederick Gretsch Manufacturing Company for one year. In 1904, he engaged in the real estate and insurance business in which he has since continued.

Emily’s math seems to be correct. Louie took the job at the bank when he was 17 in 1900 just one year after he graduated from school. He worked there for three years until he was twenty and then went to work for this older brothers. That position lasted one year before Louie went into the real estate business.

Louie’s daughter Marion wrote to Gretchen Elsner-Sommer in 2010,

“He (Louie Gretsch) worked for his two older brothers for about 2 years. My father was too young to drink and going to bars with customers he had to drink milk! Then he joined Phil Hollenbeck, a beau of Aunt Elsa’s and they started a real estate business. Uncle Phil worked nights and Daddy worked days. They developed Benson Hurst Brooklyn which was a great success.”

Perhaps, Marion is referring to a period before Louie started working for the bank when Louie might have worked for his older brothers. He was then not yet 17.

Thank you, Marion for sharing this lovely story with me. At the age of twenty, when Louie left the bank and was working for his brothers, he was old enough to drink with the customers. Perhaps, his older brothers teased him about his youth and inexperience. This teasing possibly turned into the story which survived in his daughter’s memory.


According to the New York State Census, Rosa is living at 79 Bay 25th Street Walter, Louis, Elsa, Helene , Hertha and Herbert. Hertha is 15 years old. Rosa is listed as 44 years old.

It was around this time that Hertha came down with Scarlett Fever. She had to stay in bed in a darkened room for weeks. She had pain in her limbs and was subjected to uncontrolled movements in her arms and legs. This disease left her with a scared heart which later be the cause of her early death. But more immediately, this disease left Hertha with much time to be alone.

It was this time that laid the foundation for her future travels. This time of isolation and contemplation allowed her to think about alternatives for herself. She was not to be allowed the life of her healthier older sisters Elsa and Helen. She started thinking differently.

Ted Clauss believed that Hertha grew to be such a large woman ( much larger than either of her sisters)because she spent so much time in bed in the years that she was growing. Ted believed that his cousin William Gretsch also grew to be such a large man (much bigger than either of his brothers) because due to infantile paralysis he also spent a lot of time in bed as child.

March 10 Rosa’s first grandchild Fred Gretsch Jr. is born. He is the son of Fred and his wife Charlotte Sommer Gretsch.

Philippine Morgner is running a boarding house near where Rosa and her children live. William Gretsch and his wife Lucille and their two children are living with her. William is the son of Jacob Gretsch.

April 24 Fred Gretsch Realty Company is Incorporated. Documents are signed by Rosa Gretsch of bay 25th Street and Benson Ave, Frederick Gretsch of 178 Nostrand Ave, and Walter Gretsch of Bay 25th Street and Benson Ave.

“The purpose for which it is to be formed are the purchasing and selling of real estate, the naming and purchasing of materials for the construction of buildings, the erection of buildings, the naming, managing operating, leasing and selling of buildings.”

The initial capitol was thirty thousand dollars.


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. The postcard did not have a stamp on it but perhaps it was send in an envelope.

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.

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

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

Below 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.

This picture of Emily, Wilhelmina, Helene and Hertha or Elas sitting by a lake was taken at Red Bank, New Jersey was given to me by Ted Clauss. According to Ted, the Gretsch’s had a summer home at Red Bank.

June 23 The music Trade Review writes that Fred Gretsch has been spending the past week in camp with the National Guard at Peekskill.

December 13 Rosa’s second grandson, William Walter Gretsch is born to Fred and Charlotte.


( in 2002, Mary Ann DiNapoli asked Art Simpson to check the following news papers for the marriage of Rosa Gretsch to David Kling: Record of Richmond Hill, January through July 2007, Long Island Farmer (of Jamaica) May 10-July 8th). He checked the Long Island Collection and then the papers on film.

January — the only mention of the Kling Surname found was a note about Mrs. Kling of Richmond Hill  being ill. Perhaps, this is David’s mother.

April 10 Louie Gretsch died, brother of Rosa’s first husband.

May 1 Rosa Gretsch sold her property on South 4th Street to her children.

This was the property that Fritz Gretsch had purchased in 1893.

It looks like Rosa is stepping out of her involvement with the business. Fred and Walter are doing really well in the business. Perhaps, she is preparing for her marriage to David Kling.

June 8 An inventory of Fred Gretsch’s will was made. Was this done because Louie died?

It is quite possible that during this summer, Rosa’s grandson, Baby Willie Walter Gretsch came down with polio. It must have frightening the whole family.

June 24 Rosa married David Kling. (Teddy told me he was a friend of her first husband both men had come from the same town in Germany Manheim- I did find reference to von Gerichten’s marrying a Kling and so they might have been cousins or acquaintances through Fritz’s mother-Anna Maria von Gerichten). They were married at the Richmond Hill house on Waterbury Ave.

Rosa is listed as 46 years old, born in 1861. She is the same age as her husband.

David is listed as living in Richmond Hill at time of marriage. Rosa was living in Bensonhurst on Bay 25th street.

No announcements of this marriage was found in any Brooklyn or Queens papers.

It is interesting that Rosa married David after Louie Gretsch died. Louie was Rosa’s first husband’s brother. Louie was in charge of Rosa’s estate and guardian to the children.

June Rosa’s daughter Elsa graduates from Teachers Training School in Brooklyn.

July 18 Fred and Walter issue to Elsa Gretsch 42 shares of the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company. (Documents given to GES by Billy Clauss at Teddy Clauss’ funeral in 1999.

Rosa’s middle daughter, Helene Gretsch graduated from Eramus High School in Brooklyn.

July 27 The Music Trade Review reports that Walter Gretsch is fishing with his old friend, William A Brenner of Koerber-Brenner Music Co. of St. Louis.

They enjoy a brief stay together at Averne -by-the Sea. ” Both boast as to their angling ability and their friends expect to hear several (?) fish stories when they return to the metropolis.”

Jacob Hyman who came to live at the Gretsch household when Walter was 14 years old was instrumental in teaching the young Gretsch children to love the outdoors as he did. Mr. Hyman often took the Gretsch children fishing. The habit seems to have stayed with Walter.

Helene Gretsch, Rosa’s daughter applies to Emerson College of Oratory in Boston. In a space provided for Father, Mother or guardian, Helene lists Morris MacDonald as her guardian.
Interesting that she did not list her mother.
Helene also lists her address as 496 Hancock Street, Brooklyn. I have not seen this listed as a family address anywhere previously.

In 1919, Walter will become associated with William Brenner and the New York Band Instrument Company. He is still working for Gretsch.

In 1924, Gretsch and Brenner is incorporated as a business. Walter is no longer working with The Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company.

September Dora Gretsch travels to Germany. Dora is at the time involved with a man she met in the Catskills. Her sisters Emily and Wilhelmina do not approve of the match.


January 1 Rosa takes a $2,000.00 mortgage on her property at Benson Ave. and Bay 25th Street.The Mortgage is taken from Philip J. Meinhardt.

March 21 Walter Gretsch travels west “on his regular spring trip for the Western trade” . He will travel to Chicago, Cincinnati, St Louis, Kansas City, etc. and will be gone for a month. (Music Trade Review)

July 13 The above mortgage is filled with a notary. This delay is interesting. I wonder what it signifies.


May 2, Census records Rosa and David Kling living at W. 97th Street.

June 2, Wednesday,. Elsa married Joseph Theodore Clauss at the home of her mother and David Kling, 43 Waterbury Ave., Richmond Hill.
Elsa was living with Fred and Charlotte at the time.

Ted Clauss,  Elsa and Joe’s oldest son told me that this was a big wedding held at the house on Waterbury Ave. in Richmond Hill. Elsa, Helene and Hertha were all in the wedding.

An announcement of the wedding was found in 2016 by GES.

Joseph Clauss was the only son of a Catholic family. His family was very upset that their son was marrying a non-Catholic. Because of this Joe was estranged from his family. Ted hardly knew his father’s family

Herbert, Rosa’s youngest child graduates from Erasmus High School.

Rosa’s son Walter travels to Germany for business with the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company.

September 27 Rosa’s son Louie incorporates the Fulton Land and Mortgage Company of New York.

According to Emily Gretsch’s Schlegel article, Louie had been working in Real Estate for five year when he started this company.

“He (Louis Gretsch) is the President of the Fulton Land and Mortgage Company of New York which was organized in 1909 and is located at 177 Remsen street, Brooklyn. This company has made a specialty of building bachelor apartment properties, and has been so successful in the conduct of them that they now constitute the greater part of the company’s business. Most of these properties are located in the Brooklyn Heights section, that for several generation has had a country-wide fame as a residential district.”


March 11 Rosa’s daughter, Helene Gretsch, gives a performance as Helene Hope at a New York theatre.

March 15


Rosa’s daughter, Helene Gretsch, graduates from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

A New York Times article dated March 16, reads “The graduation exercises of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts were held at the Empire Theatre yesterday afternoon and consisted of the awarding of diplomas to members of the class and of an address by Helen Ware.”

In 1980, Ted Clauss wrote to me that the American Academy of Dramatic Arts was a four year program held at Carnegie Hall.

Before entering that course, Helene studied at The Emerson School Of Elocution in Boston, Mass.

Click to enlarge image

Helene Hope on stage during this period.

Ted Clauss wrote further of Helen’s work ” Aunt Helen’s first work in the theater was secured for her through the Academy, and she had small parts in plays with De Wolfehopper. Later, she toured in straight with Sidney Drew, in light comedy, and also with John Drew, in the heavy stuff. She did no musicals. During the years she did several short plays with William Farnaum, one of which I saw at the Flatbush Theater in 1918, and can still remember it. She had a regular agent, who shipped her on tours all over the U.S. and Canada. She used the stage name Helene Hope . She also toured with Otis Skinner of theatre fame and knew Cornelia Otis Skinner the monologuist (?)”

February 21 Mary Mallon in the papers again being released from custody.

March 31 Elsa Gretsch Clauss gives birth to her first child, Theodore.

May 2 US Census enumerates:

David Kling (49) and Rosa (50) living with Walter, Louis, Helene, Hertha (20) and Herbert at 28 West 97th Street in Manhattan. They are renters in a large building which housed 11 other unites. From the census, it looks like it was the largest building in the neighborhood. David Kling is listed as a “Waiter”, Walter is a “Manufacturer” and Louis is in “Real Estate”. Hertha and Helene are not working and Herbert is in school.

The US Census also enumerates Millard F and Amelia L Garwood at 129 West 96th Street. Millard works for the RR and Amelia is the keeper of a Boarding House.

In 1919, Millard F and Amelia L Garwood signed Rosa’s will. They are the same age as Rosa and they used to live in Brooklyn at 420 Bergen Street.

By 1920, Rosa has moved to Sidney Place in Brooklyn but the Garwoods still live at the same address.

May 6 Rosa sells her house in Bensonhurst to the Fulton Land and Mortgage Company of New York.

This was her son’s Louie’s Real Estate company.


June 22 Bena’s daughter, Johanna M. Morgner age 21 marries Fred C. Brose, rancher, age 29, in Wenatchee, County of Chelan, Washington State.

Johanna’s mother ( Philipppine) travels all the way to Washington state for the wedding. They are married by a Catholic priest.

Hertha would have taken special note of so much traveling by the girls in the family.

Perhaps, she talked about this with her friend Jacob Hyman. Jacob was perhaps by this time, again living with the family at 42 Sidney Place.

December 4 New York times reports that Herbert Gretsch received a Varsity letter for Baseball! Herbert’s older brothers were very involved with business. Herbert being the youngest in the family probably didn’t get much respect for his ability on the sports field.

December 21 Fred Gretsch, President of the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Co. and Walter Gretsch, treasurer sign a certificate which certifies that Elsa Clauss is the owner of 42 shares of its capitol stock. Shares were values at $100.OO each.

Note Elsa’s birthday was December 27th. Perhaps, this was a birthday present.

Documents given to GES at Teddy Clauss’s funeral in 1999 by his son Bill Clauss.


Rosa and family moved to Brooklyn Heights, 42 Sidney Place.

April Several times in this month, Rosa’s youngest son Herbert is mentioned in the New York Times for his playing third base on the Columbia University Baseball Team.

June 4 Herbert graduates from Columbia University with a degree in Civil engineering. He is the only one of the Gretsch children to graduate from College. He is also the youngest of all the children.

June 21 New York Times

” Big Brooklyn Factory Deal”

An important Brooklyn deal in the Williamsburg section has been made in the purchase by the Gretsch Corporation of a plot 75 by 140 feet between the North West Corner of Berry and South Fifth Street. A seven story concrete factory will be erected on the site, which will be factory number 3 of the Gretsch Corporation. Factories 1 & 2 being in close proximity.. The plot purchased faces the Brooklyn and the Williamburgh Bridge and is now covered by six houses. James B. Fisher was the Brooker.

June 27 The New York times reports that a $200,000.00 lease was closed yesterday with Schaffer and Budenburg, manufacturers of Steam guages and thermometer for the greater part of the new concrete factory to be erected by the Gretsch Cooperation on the northwest corner of Berry and South 5th Street facing the Williamsburg Bridge. the construction of the factory which will be 7 stories will be commenced immediately upon the demolition of the seven dwelling houses now on the plot. It will be ready for occupancy January 1, 1915.

June 28 Archduke Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated. In August WW1 begins.

December 23 Philippine Gretsch Morgner commits suicide. The cause of death as stated on her death certificate was “Illumination Gas poisoning”.

Philippine or Aunt Bena as Hertha would have called her, was the youngest girl in the family of Manheim Gretsch’s.

An article in the Brooklyn Eagle of that date reads “Suicide By Gas In Her Boarding House. Mrs. Morgan, Keeper of Myra Cottage Ends life in her Bath Beach Place. Mrs. Philpmenia Morgan, 53 years old, who conducted a boarding house at the foot of Bay Twenty-third street know as Myra cottage, committed suicide today by inhaling illumination gas in her home.

At 8 o’clock this morning, John Anderson, a boarder smelled gas escaping and made an investigation. He discovered that it came from Mrs. Morgan’s room, and when he could get no response to his knocks, he forced open the door and discovered her lying upon her bed. All the gas jets in the room had been turned on and the windows tightly fastened.

When Dr. Kahn of the Coney Island Hospital was called in, he said that the woman had been dead for some time. No reason is known for the suicide. She left two letters written in German, which were turned over to the coroner’s office.”

N.B. John Anderson had been living in the same boarding house with Phillipine for more than ten years. First he worked as a scaffold rigger and later he worked in the boarding house as a general helper.

In 14 years, Philippine moved at least three times within the same neighborhood. She supported herself and her daughter by running boarding houses.

For several years, Hertha and her family lived in Bath Beach near Philippine and her daughter Johanna. It is quite possible that Hertha and her cousin Johanna were close friends.

For more information about Philippine, go to “Timelines” on the navigation bar of this website.


January 13 Jacob Hyman dies in the Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn. He was living at the time with the Gretsch family with whom he had lived as a boarder for 20 years. Jacob was a retired prominent Brooklyn business man.

Click to enlarge image

January 14 This picture and obituary appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the day after Jacob’s death.

Jacob Hyman, of 42 Sidney place, a well known figure in downtown Brooklyn business circles, died yesterday in the Jewish hospital, aged 72 years. After coming to this country from Russia as a boy, Mr. Hyman quickly became a merchant of prominent in lower New York City, both in the clothing and in the jewelry business. From these enterprises he gained a considerable fortune, and about 20 years ago retired and from that time on till he died he resided in Brooklyn among old friends of his younger days. Soon after his retirement from business he became an ardent devotee of fishing, and hardly a day in summertime passed when he did not bring home a credible catch. To his love of this sport, his general outdoor life and his cheerful mode of living, Mr. Hyman gave the credit for his long life. Mr. Hyman was well known for his numerous works of charity, and many struggling Jewish congregations revere the name of the kindly old man whose generous aid helped them to success. Lawyer Isaac W. Jacobson, executor of the estate intimates that a surprise will be sprung this week when Mr. Hyman’s will is offered for probate. Funeral services will be held in the chapel at 18 Clinton street tomorrow morning at 11 o’clock, Rabbi Steven Wise of the Free Synagogue in Manhattan officiating. Interment will be in the family plot Bay Side . L.I.

January 26

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Page 16,


Bertha Gretsch, Fishing Companion Of Jacob Hyman, Gets Half Estate.

An echo of the pleasant afternoons fifteen years ago, when he used to take fishing with him a little girl who, of all those he knew sat stillest when the first were biting, is reflected in the provision of the will of Jacob Hyman, late of 42 Sidney Place, retired merchant, that one-half of his estate, amounting to a substantial sum, should go to Miss Bertha Gretsch, 23 years old, of the Sidney street address, with whose family Mr. Hyman had made his home for many years. The beneficiary is a sister of Louis Gretsch real estate dealer, of 177 Remson street.

Mr. Hyman, who was well known for his numerous acts of charity and the aid he gave many struggling Jewish congregations since his retirement twenty years ago, as a clothier and jeweler on Broadway, Manhattan, died of cancer in his seventy-third year at the Jewish Hospital on January 13. He was never married and Lawyer Isaac W. Jacobson, the sole executor of the estate, is now preparing, preliminary to the filing of the will this week, a list of first cousins, among whom the other half fo the estate is to be distributed. There are sixteen altogether and they are widely scattered.

Miss Gretsch was graduated from Erasmus High School several years ago. She had three sisters and four brothers. Mr. Hyman lived with he family in Bensonhurst. Mr. Hyman had two recreations, one fishing and the other matinees. He attended a matinee almost every afternoon, frequently taking the Gretsch children with him. The children also were his fishing companions.

Mr. Jacobson declared today that Mr. Hyman’s estate will be very large.

January 27 After the news had broken, the story because it was so charming was picked up and sent around the country.

Marion, Ohio newspaper, News Nuggests, Front Page

“Reward for Sitting Still” ” Because she always sat still in the stern sheets when she went dishing with him. Jacob Hyman a wealthy jeweler bequeathed his niece Hertha Gretsch age 23, on half of his estate, mounting to $50,000.”

January 28 On the front page of the Washington Post,

” She sat still got fortune. Jeweler remembers girl who keep quiet and didn’t scare the fist. Mis Bertha Gretsh of 42 Sidney Place Bensonhurst inherited half the estate of the late Jacob Hyman……etc

The story also appeared on the same day in the Fort Wayne, Indiana paper. Several of the facts were wrong however. Hertha was listed as Bertha, she was also noted as Jacob’s niece and his estate was stated as $50,000.

One can imagine the stir this must have caused in Hertha’s life.

February 16 Jacob Hyman’s lawyer fills a petition to The Surrogate Court of the County of Kings to prove the last will and testament of Jacob Hyman.

February 20 Helene Gretsch who was in the county of Hamilton, Ohio at the time petitioned the court that K. C.& M. V. McDonald at 189 Montague Street in Brooklyn appear for her in the up coming proceedings.

Helene was apparently traveling with an acting troop.

March 4 K.C. & M.C. McDonald send a notice of appearance to the Surrogate Court.

April 19 Surrogate Court.

During the proceeding the cousins of Jacob Hyman claim that his last will “was procured by fraud and undue influence practiced upon the decedent by Hetha Gretsch, Helena Gretsch, Elsa Clauss, and of other persons acting in concert or privity with them, whose name or manes are at present unknown to those objectors and contestors.”

May 5

Click to enlarge image

Hertha’s stance in the courtroom is noted in this Brooklyn Daily Eagle article which appeared on May 5. Unfortunately, the article only records her silence and tells us no more about her life.

May 6 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Girl Gets Hyman Estate

Cousins Fail in Contest of Jacob Hyman’s Will

The jury in the Surrogate’s court yesterday refused to take from Miss Hertah (sic) Gretsch of 42 Sidney place the $10,000 inheritance she was given by Jacob Hyman. The jury took but a short time after the cousins contestof Mr. Hyman’s will was given to them, to decide that the will was valid and should be admitted to probate. Surrogate Ketcham accepted the verdict and denied a motion made by counsel for the contestants to set it aside as against the evidence.

Miss Hertah (sic) Gretsch and her two sisters Helena Gretsch and Elsa Claus, are thus given the entire estate of $20,000 left by Hyman, who had lived with their family for almost twenty years. Miss Hertah (sic) Gretsch receives one-half the estate and each of her sisters receives a fourth.


New York Times

Silence Wins a Girl $10,000. Angler’s Legacy to Companion Who Kept Quiet is Upheld.

A jury before Surrogate Ketcham in Brooklyn yesterday decided the will of Jacob Hyman who gave his estate to Herta Gretsch and her two sisters, Helena and Elas was valid. Hyman lived with the Gretsch family at 42 Sidney Place Brooklyn. He died January 13.

Miss Herta Gretsch while a young girl often accompanied Hyman on fishing trips. Her sisters also went along but Herta always obeyed Hyman’s instructions to keep perfectly quiet while the fish were biting and this won Hyman’s admiration for her to the extant of his leaving her half of his estate of $20,000. The other sisters each received one forth. After the will was filed for probate relatives of Hyman contested it. They alledged that the testator was mentally unsound.

May 7 The Lusitanian is sunk by German submarine.

June 13 Sunday, The New York Times. “Fifteen old two and three story frame buildings that have stood on lower Broadway in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn for a quarter of a century were torn down last week to make way for an eleven-story reinforced concrete building to be erected by Gretsch Brothers at a cost of about $650,OOO.OO.

The building occupies the entire block frontage of Broadway from Betty Street to Wythe Avenue with the exception of the Manufacturer’s Citizen’s Trust Company building. This is the fourth loft building to be erected by the Gretsch Brothers during the past five years and indicates the demand among manufacturers for lofts in this section

Although the building will not be ready for occupancy until January 1916, seven floors have been leased from the plans for twenty-years terms, one of the leases to Braunworth & Co., bookbinders, aggregating about $600.000.

Not only have loft buildings attracted the real estate operators to this section, but the records show more modern sixteen to thirty family apartment houses are now in course of construction than in any other part of Brooklyn.”

These must be the “unsightly buildings” that Nathan Jonas referred to in his autobiography, Through the Years.

“After we merged with the Manufacturers National Bank in 1914, there was a row of unsightly building taking up the whole block below the office of the Manufacturers National Bank. Acting upon my creative policy as bank president, I prevailed upon Fred and Walter Gretsch to plan a large manufacturing building on that site. helped them with their plans and with their financing including assistance in securing a first mortgage in the building.”

For more information about the relationship between the Gretsch family and Nathan Jonas, see “The Library” section of this website. There you can read more about his autobiography, Through The Years, in which Charlotte Gretsch and her husband, Fred are frequently mentioned.

This building was 60 Broadway.


Teddy told me that Rosa spent summers at Bernardsville, New Jersey on the Bliss Estate. Her husband David Kling was a Gentleman’s Gentleman to Mr. Bliss. I can find no record of this….only Teddy’s recollections of spending summers at his grandmother’s cottage on the estate.


(possibly even before then) Rosa often played the Piano for fund raisers for “Good Will”.

Teddy remembers especially his grandmother’s playing for the large Abraham and Strauss Department store in Brooklyn at Christmas time. As a young boy, Teddy would go with her and turn the pages of her music as she played.

Rosa was very dedicated to Good Will and always baked for them. She also enlisted her children especially Elsa and possible Hertha to work also for Good Will.

Rosa’s daughter in law, Charlotte Sommer Gretsch wrote in her diary on Tuesday May 5, 1925 ” Miss L. Eifert–Good Will” Perhaps, Charlotte was attending a benefit for her mother in law.

On May 11 of the same year, Charlotte entered in her diary ” Spring Luncheon Good Will Circle”.

Besides Teddy’s recollections, there are the only references I can find in the family to Rosa’s interest in “Good Will”.


Rosa’s daughter Hertha begins her long trip by first traveling to California. She wrote home constantly to her mother.

November 11 World War 1 ends.


July 29 Rosa wrote her will.

” I Rosa Kling, of the Borough of Brooklyn, Country of Kings, City of an Stage of New York, considering the uncertainly of this mortal life, and being of sound mind and memory, do make this my last will and testament.

I bequeath to my husband David Kling the sum of Three thousand dollars$3.000.00. The remainder of my estate, both real and personal to be devided (sic) equally between my seven children, Frederick Gretsch, Walter Gretsch, Louis Gretsch, Elsa Clauss, Helene Welsh, Hertha Gretsch and Herbert Gretsch.

I appoint Frederick Gretsch Executor of this my last will and testiment (sic).

In witness whereof I have this day hereunto subscribed my name this 29th day of July in the year of our Lord 1919. Rosa Kling. Witnesses Millard F. Garwood, Amelia L. Garwood

August 21 Rosa’s son Walter applies for a US Passport in order to go to Europe on a buying trip for the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company. Two letters are written on his behalf. One from Reuben W. Shatan, the assistant secretary of the Manufacturer’s Trust Company and another by his brother Fred Gretsch, President of the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company. He is living at 42 Sidney Place.

Walter is 5 feet, 5 1/2 inches tall, blue eyes, brown hair, medium nose.

December 1 Rosa’s youngest daughter Hertha applied for a passport to go to Asia from Honolulu. Rosa knew that her daughter was in Honolulu but most likely she didn’t know that was planning on traveling in Asia. Hertha’s passport was awarded on December 22.

For more information about Hertha and her passport application which contains many discrepancies go to Hertha’s time line on this website.


January 4 According to the US Census:

Rosa and her husband David are living at 42 Sidney place with Walter, Louie (Real Estate) and Herbert (Civil Engineer).

David is listed as a clerk.

Rosa is listed as 54 years old (born in 1866) and four years younger than her husband.

January 17 Walter who is working for the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company wrote a letter to the Dept of State requesting a passport for his soon to be wife, Gertrude Beardall Gourlay. They are to be married on January 25th. They plan to sail together on the Rotterdam to Europe on a business/ wedding trip on February 7. Walter swears that he had known her for 10 years.

January 25 Walter Gretsch married Gertrude Beardall Gourlay. ( a widow)

In the 1910 census, Gertrude is listed as a widow. She works as a teacher in a Public School. She lives with her married sister Catherine Hamilton and her husband Charles H. Gertrude’s mother and another sister and a cousin are also part of the household. Gertrude’s sister and her husband have two children. A 20 year old daughter, Bessie G. and a 6 year old son, George L.

At Gertrude’s funeral, a man showed up and said he was Gertrude’s son. No one in the family knew that she had a child. Walter most probably knew.

(I imagine in 2010, that George Hamilton might have been Gertrude’s son. Perhaps, after her husband’s death, she was persuaded to give him up to her well situated sister and her husband. This is only a theory that needs to be researched.)

Ted Clauss tells the story that none of Watler’s siblings nor his mother were fond of Gertrude.

I think differently. I think that Hertha found a kindred spirit in Gertrude. They traveled together on the ship coming home from Europe in November of 1922. They were both very unconventional women, not a favorite type in the Gretsch family. Rosa probably didn’t appreciate Gertrude’s strengths or her unconventionality. Rosa herself had these traits but she channeled them to her children. Gertrude channeled them elsewhere.

Ted told the story about Gertrude flicking the ashes of her cigarette onto the dinner plate at a family dinner on Sidney Place. Elsa, Ted’s mother, was Walter’s sister. Elsa and her mother Rosa were very close. It is easy to imagine that they both were very skeptical of this “new” woman entering the family.

September 3 Walter is in Basel, Switzerland trying to help his uncle William Gretsch secure a passport so that he can return to the U.S.

September 22 Walter and Gertrude sail for home from Liverpool on “the Baltic”. It has been a long wedding trip.

October 1 Walter and Gertrude arrive in NYC. They both list their address as 42 Sidney Place where Walter’s mother lives.


Oct 25 Fred sails on the Aquitania for European business trip


July 18 Louis Gretsch applied for a pass port. He was planning to leave on July 26th for a pleasure trip to Europe. Louis was 5 feet 9 inches tall with brown eyes and hair and a Roman nose. He had distinguishing marks on his right arm. He will be accompanied by his wife, Marian.

According to Gertrude Gretsch, on their honey moon in Europe, they traveled with Walter and Gertrude Gretsch. In Paris, they all met up with Hertha and “brought her home”. Why exactly she needed to be brought home is not clear.

On July 25, 2010, I discovered from an article in the Music Trade Review dated September, 1922, that Rosa was also in Europe at this time. This means that she was probably in Paris when Hertha arrived in Europe. The story I was always told was that Hertha met her brothers in Europe but apparently her mother was there too.

Rosa and David Kling has gone to Europe on April 15, 1922 and returned home on October 26, 1922. They sailed from Hamburg on October 12.

October 22,


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, October 9, 1922

“The marriage of Miss Wilhelmina E. Gretsch to Andrew N Frank on Nov. 1 will be the third nuptial celebration in the Gretsch family within a few months. In July, Miss Gretsch’s cousin, Louis Gretsch, a real estate broker of Montague st. was married to Miss Marion Downey of this city, and the wedding of his brother Herbert Gretsch to Miss Marie Regina Furey followed in August.
Miss Wilhelmina E. Gretsch is the daughter of Mrs. Clara Gretsch of 20 Vernon ave. and her fiance is the son of Mrs. Ellen Frank formerly of Manhattan and now of Boston, Mass.

The ceremony will be performed at 8 0’clock at the Hotel Bossert, The Rev. Dr. John J. Heischmann officiating. Miss Olga Gretsch will be attending her sister as maid of honor and Edward Jacob of Fordham, N.Y. will act as the best man for the bridegroom.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Gretsch are spending their honeymoon abroad and they expect to have a family reunion in Europe in the near future. Their sister, Miss Hertha Gretsch, who is coming West from the Orient after a stay of about five years in China, will meet them on her way back and they will also be joined by Mr. Gretsch’s mother, Rosa Kling, of 41 Sidney pl. and by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Gretsch.”

The above article was found in early April, 2016 by Gretchen Elsner -Sommer. It sheds a lot of light as to what was going on in the family at that time. Two of Rosa’s children, Louis and Herbert,  choose to marry while she was out of the country—-very interesting!!
Hertha arrived home on November 10. She sailed with her mother, Rosa, David Kling, Walter and Gertrude from South Hampton on October 26.

It is not clear how much contact Rosa and her children had in Europe during this summer and early fall. Perhaps, Rosa and David visited William Gretsch and his wife who were living in Basel at this time.

In 1999, Marion Gretsch Wells wrote to me about her mother…My mother’s maiden name was Downey. her father started the Holy Family Hospital. (This is the hospital where Rosa’s youngest daughter died in 1936. Teddy told me that Hertha received very good care there because of the family’s connection to the hospital’s founder.) Marion’s grandfather founded St. Mary’s. “Mother was a fascinating person. she drove an ambulance in W.W. I in New York and in the thirty’s she started the Immaculate Conception Day Nursery near the Brooklyn Naval Yard and funded it with a huge luncheon, bridge and fashion show at the Waldorf yearly.”

Apparently, Marion Downey Gretsch was also a good friend of Helen Mooney Gretsch’s mother.


August 1 Gertrude Gretsch, daughter of Walter and Gertrude Gretsch is born.

Gertrude is Rosa’s first granddaughter.

Gertrude grew up close to her cousin, Marion Gretsch. Marion was younger than Gertrude and she was also an only child.

October 22, William Gretsch, half brother of Rosa’s first husband, died  at the Friedmatt Insane Asylum in Basel. A nephew who was responsible for “effects and accounts thereof” was Georg Wolf who lived at 42 Thiersteineralle, 42. William Gretsch’s wife Marie Gretsch Rittmueller can be found from 1922 to 1929 in Basel directories. Her first address was Delsbergerallee 21, her second was Hecthliacker 14 and her third address was Thiersteineralle 42.

William had no children and had moved back to Germany. He had set up a trust fund in his will for Rosa. City Bank Farmers Trust Company was the executor and trustee.


February Gretsch and Brenner incorporated in New York City.


June 11 Rosa’s son Fred Gretsch is issued a US Passport.


June 18 Rosa’s Birthday. On this day, Fred & Charlotte & Dick sailed for Europe

July 13 Rosa purchased a home at 115-31 Union Turnpike in Forest Hills Gardens. is is located near the corner of Union Turnpike and Greenway North. This was a one family private dwelling of stucco construction. The lot was 40 feet by 122. At the time of purchase Rosa acquired a mortgage of $11,500.00. The value of the home in 1934 was $15,500.

Teddy remembers that they had a large garden there and dogs that she had brought home from Germany.

Gertrude her grandchild remembers going there and playing with large bags of clothes that Rosa kept for her grandchildren to dress up in.

Gertrude remembers Hertha being there and thinking that she was so beautiful.

Gertrude remembers not seeing much of her cousins Fred, Bill and Richard because her father Walter and his brother Fred were in such a terrible fight.

But Gertrude remembers being told that Charlotte was so beautiful.


May Rosa’s daughter in law Charlotte Gretsch dies. Charlotte was 47 years old.


September 16 Louie Gretsch guarantees payment for Rosa on a second mortgage she had secured on a building at 269 Prospect Place in Brooklyn.

The original mortgage was made to Sydney Place Cooperation on September 7, 1927.

At Rosa’s death, the three daughters received one third interest in the principal Elsa, Helene and Hertha equal to $1,500.00. But what happened to the building which was worth $59,500.?


April Dr. Eugene Cronin begins taking care of Rosa and treating her for myocarditis.


Dec 22 Rosa died at 7:30 pm at home from Myocarditis. She had been suffering with this for 14 months. contributing to her death was chronic kidney disease. apparently, she had nurses taking care of her at home.

Three nurses, Miss C. Center, Miss M. Mooney and Miss Marg McHugh were all paid from her estate for their services.

On the same day that Rosa died, her grandson Richard Gretsch was returning to New York from a trip around the world.

Dec 26 Rosa was buried at Greenwood Cemetery Brooklyn. She is listed there as Rosa Gretsch. Lot 292-61 sec. 145

It is interesting to note that her first husband, Fritz Gretsch was buried in this same plot, on the day before Thanksgiving, 1895. Rosa was buried 39 years later on the day after Christmas.


February 28 An Inventory of the Household Effects, Etc of Rosa Kling was submistted to the Surrogate Court of Queen’s County.

The final appraisal value was $841.00

By far the most expensive item in Rosa’s house was a Steinway and Son, Walnut Parlor Grand Piano # 246076.

Most of the other furniture was described as “broken”, “cheap grade”, “worn”, “long in use”, “stained”, “discolored”, “chiped” .

At the time of Rosa’s death, her children were living at the following addresses:

Fred–37 Shorthill Road

Walter–321 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

Louis–7 Montague Terrace, Brooklyn

Elsa Clauss–1707 Avenue N, Brooklyn

Helene Welsh–237 Greenway North

Hertha–115-31 Union Turnpike

Herbert–280 Brower Ave., Rockville Centre, Nassau County


January 18 Hertha dies at Holy Family hospital in Brooklyn

June1 Helene Welsh is named Administratrix of Hertha’s estate. Helene’s address is listed as 37 Shorthill Road.

It appears that soon after Rosa’s death. Helene and her husband were divorced and Helene moved in with her brother Fred.

Elsa Clauss had moved to 7666 Austin Street.

This time line was begun on Easter Tuesday, April 13, 1993 and continuously revised

Wird sich die Geschichte anders ausnehmen, wenn wir sie (die Geschichte) durch das Prisma ihres Lebens und Werkes betrachten?

Hannah Arendt on Rosa Luxemburg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s