He lived previous to, and at the time of his father's death, in Haycock Twp., Pa., on the Tohickon, where he owned and ran a mill. He afterwards moved below Doylestown.
In 1800 he emigrated to Canada with all of his family except his daughter Barbara, who married Jacob Silvius, and remained with her family in Bucks Co., and Moses, who went out to Canada the year previous. The journey to Canada was in wagons, and on foot. The old people rode and the younger members of the family walked. It is said that Mrs. Hipple carried her child all the way to Canada on foot.
The journey was a very tedious one, through the thinly settled wilderness. In some places they had to cut a road through the forests, and for lack of bridges they had to ford the streams. Thus on their way they experienced many inconveniences and hardships. On one occasion near the close of the day, something broke about the wagon, without the repair of which they could not proceed, so one of the boys took a horse from the wagon, rode back twenty miles to the nearest blacksmith shop where the iron was repaired, and returned arriving at early dawn, when the horse was put to the wagon, and the journey continued. An incident which will serve to show the spirit of John Fretz, occurred during his residence in Pennsylvania. It was during the early days of the Revolution. The patriot army being somewhat destitute of arms, the soldiers went from house to house collecting guns for the army, from the settlers. On coming to his house they asked for his gun. He took the weapon from its accustomed place, and replied to the soldiers saying, "Yes, you can have my gun, but I'll keep hold of the butt end of it." In 1801, the first Mennonite church was established in Canada - known as Moyer's church. Of this church he was ordained Deacon in 1801, being the first Deacon of the Mennonite church in Canada.
Among the relics retained of the home of John Fretz, is a barrel churn of white cedar, made by him in Bucks Co., Pa., ninety-four years ago (1796) for his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Abraham Grobb, and is now owned by John Grobb, grandson of Eliza-beth. His children are: Manasseh, Barbara, Abraham, Ephraim, Judith, Moses, Anna, Diana, Sarah and Elizabeth.