A Vineyard in Greece

Most people in Greece associate the surname Fetzner with the making and repairing of means of transportation. First with a carriage and blacksmith shop and then as the “fuel” changed from hay for horse-powered carriages to gas, the family moved on to selling and/or repairing cars.

A horse drawn carriage outside a building

Drawing by William Aeberli
J.P. Fetzners’ brothers John and Frank owned and operated the J & F Fetzner Carriage Makers, Blacksmithing and Painting on Ridge Road in Greece. Frank’s blacksmith Shop was in the small building, and John’s carriage-making building was the larger.
Drawing by William Aeberli
A person with a mustache

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Joseph Peter “J.P”. Fetzner, 1901
Courtesy Lever/Henricus Family

Patriarch Frank Fetzner arrived in the United States in the mid to late 1840s from Untergrombach, Bruschal, Baden, Germany (18km or 11 miles east of the Rhine River). He married Catherine Mura, together they had eight children and resided on a farm in Greece with a blacksmith shop as one of their outbuildings. The driveway to their farm later became Fetzner Road. Sons John and Frank were the well-known carriage makers and blacksmiths whose enterprise was on the Ridge Road. Another son, Joseph Peter (1856-1909), better known in business as J.P., became a maker of wine, liquors, cider and vinegar.

Perhaps making moonshine in the still on his father’s farm, gave J.P. the idea to establish his way in the liquor business. In 1878, J.P. planted grapes for a fledgling vineyard on Long Pond Road, just north of Mill Road. He married Mary Hutte the following year. The Long Pond vineyard thrived and grew, buildings and operations expanded over time, including a storehouse, winery, mill, brandy distillery plant, and a house. There was an additional cider mill on Ridge Road. By 1881, he had founded the Rochester Liquor & Distilling Company in the city of Rochester. As growth continued, in 1899, the name changed to the Lake Ontario Wine Company and the venture went public. The company produced wine, champagne (American Eagle brand), and brandies. It was a very successful family operation with its offices and distillery then based in Rochester. The cider mill, vineyards, winery, wine cellars and woodland (to make the vineyard stakes) were in Greece.

A close-up of a map

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J.P. Fetzner Vineyard and Cider Mill location on Long Pond Road, just north of Mill Road on this (1905 Greece Map)
A couple of men in a field

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J.P. Fetzner and worker at Vineyard on Long Pond Road. History of the Brewery and Liquor Business of Rochester, N.Y., Kearse

At the business peak around the year 1900, it was very much a family affair. J.P. was president and treasurer; brother-in-law William Hutte was vice-president; brother Wendell Fetzner helped for a few years with carting; son-in-law brewer, William Kipp (married daughter Minnie), was secretary; and son Arthur Fetzner was a foreman. The company appeared to be highly successful, paying excellent dividends to their stockholders and allowing the family to live prosperously. Unfortunately, J.P. got pulmonary tuberculosis, and then died suddenly in 1909. With his passing, things quickly fell apart. J.P. had sold most of his personal land to the company as well as used personal funds to establish it. During probate, it was discovered that the stock shares were worthless. The family members involved in the business, as well as J.P.’s second wife, Josephine Neidert, and his children from both marriages, had to take other paths in life.

A large brown jug on a wood surface

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A close up of a vase

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J.P. Fetzner wine jugs. The jugs were made by Jacob Fisher’s pottery business in Lyons, Wayne County, New York. To ensure a return for refill, vendors put their business name on the jugs.

Courtesy Bill Sauers and Jane Oakes, respectively

A brown jug with a handle

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This is just a portion of the Fetzner Family, you can read more about the Fetzner family in the Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece, Volume 1, by Marie Poinan and JoAnn Ward Synder.

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BICENTENNIAL SNAPSHOT COLLECTION ON DVD

Bicentennial Snapshot Logo

From March 2022 through March 2023, in celebration of our town’s bicentennial, the Greece Historical Society produced 54 multimedia podcasts called Bicentennial Snapshots. Each snapshot, averaging five to 10 minutes, explored a different aspect of Greece’s history.

Even though all of them are available on our website, the complete series of Bicentennial Snapshots is also available on a set of four DVDs for $15.00. Click on the Buy Now button below to order your DVD set of our Bicentennial Snapshots.

Bicentennial Snapshot DVD Cover
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Annual Reports

Below are the Annual Reports for the Years 2016 to 2022.

Annual Report:

Bicentennial Snapshot Series Completed

Bicentennial Snapshot # 54: Gone but not Forgotten
Bicentennial Snapshot No. 54: Gone, but Not Forgotten

If you liked our bicentennial snapshot series that was released on YouTube from March 22, 2022 through March 28, 2023, and like this short video podcast style of presenting Greece History, please let us know by sending an email to VideoProgram@GreeceHistoricalSociety.onmicrosoft.com.

If there is sufficient interest in seeing Greece history presented in this way, we will look into expanding the series beyond the snapshots that have already been produced.

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Greece Pioneer Family Project, Vol. 2

Greece Pioneer Family Project, Vol. 2

If you are a member of a Pioneer Family who was living in the Town of Greece before 1872, we would like to hear from you. Co-authors Marie Villone Poinan and Jo Ann Ward Snyder are now accepting additional family submissions for Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece, Volume 2, which will be published in the fall of 2022.

This second volume will honor families who settled in the area before 1872 but were not included in volume 1. It will contain vignettes, photos, and input from current family members, highlighting each family’s contribution to the town.

If your family qualifies and you would like to be included in volume two, please download and submit the five documents below by August 1, 2022. You will be contacted by Marie or Jo Ann within 30 days.

Submit all supporting documentation, to us by e-mail at greecehistoricalsociety@yahoo.com or via US mail to: Greece Historical Society, PO Box 16249, Greece, NY 14616

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 1 is available from Amazon, from our online museum gift shop, or by visiting our gift shop in the museum during our regular office hours. (Visit our “200 years” section above to see the complete list of included families.)

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Apply for a Bicentennial Pioneer Certificate

Example of a Bicentennial Certificate
Example of a Bicentennial Certificate

If you have documentation that proves that your family was living in the Town of Greece before 1872, you can apply for a PIONEER CERTIFICATE to be issued by the Greece Historical Society. The certificate will include your family name, a GHS bicentennial logo, an embossed gold GHS “Pioneer Family” seal, and the signature of GHS president William Sauers. (Additional copies will be available for purchase.) To date, we have created and distributed nearly 200 individual Pioneer Family certificates.

If yours is one of the featured families in the Pioneers of the Town of Greece book, you will automatically receive a certificate for that family and do not have to supply the paperwork discussed below. If you have another family who was in Greece before 1872, you will have to submit an application and pedigree chart for that surname.

To  request a certificate, please download and complete the certificate application and “fillable” pedigree chart using the links below:

Submit those two completed forms, and any additional supporting documentation, to us by e-mail at greecehistoricalsociety@yahoo.com or via US mail to: Greece Historical Society, PO Box 16249, Greece, NY 14616

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