Fretz, Pennsylvania

How did Fretz, Pennsylvania get it’s name? This page provides a brief history about the naming of Fretz, Pennsylvania, the people who settled it, and the industry rising within it.

A hamlet or community of scattered farmsteads in Bedminster Township about two miles north of Bedminster. The original name for the region was Fretz Valley, but when a post office was established in April, 1899, at the home of the late Henry Erwin Fretz on the Dublin-Ottsville. Road, the word “Valley” was dropped and the post office name became Fretz. The office has been discontinued and the community now receives its mail by rural delivery. Henry E. Fretz, who was the father of Warren Fretz, first Game Protector for Bucks County, was a prominent business man, managing for many years a large carriage emporium at Fretz. His plantation was known as “Twin Pine Farm” from its two native pine trees, still thriving, though planted over a century ago by Henry’s father, Philip K., and uncle, Abraham K. Less than fifty years ago the owners of fourteen contiguous farms in Fretz Valley were members of the Fretz family. They were descendants of the pioneer Johannes Fretz (ca. 17041772), a Mennonite, who with his brothers, Christian and Mark, and sister, Barbara, emigrated to America from either central Baden or Alsace about 1725. This date is sometimes placed as early as 1720. Mark died on the voyage. This family evidently descended from seventeenth century emigrants from the canton Zurich, Switzerland, to central Baden. In 1738 John Fretz received a grant of 230 acres of land in Bedminster Township from Thomas and John Penn. He married first Barbara Meyer (Moyer), probably also of Swiss origin, and second Maria __________, leaving children by each wife. Many Fretzs of the old Alsatian stock still reside in the Rhine province of that name. Christian, John’s brother, hewed his home out of the wilderness in the Tinicum Creek valley of Tinicum Township. In the course of time the progeny of the pioneer brothers became known as the Bedminster Branch and the Tinicum Branch, and this distinction prevails today at the happy reunions held by the family annually. The family has been prominent in its support of Deep Run Mennonite congregation, worshiping in the old log church before it gave way to the stone structure of 1766. The descendants of John and Christian Fretz today run into the tens of thousands and comprise many people of distinction in various walks of life in nearly every State in the Union.


MacReynolds, George. Place Names in Bucks County Pennsylvania, 2nd Edition. Doylestown, PA: The Bucks County Historical Society, 1955.

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