The Endurance of Elizabetha – Elizabetha Pfeiffer Bell

Elizabetha Bell born 1731, married Johannes Bell, whose parents were among those who died in the Andustown Massacre July 18 1778 in Herkimer County NY.

The year was 1758 in German Flats in Herkimer County NY, that spring word came of an immenent attack by the Onondaga Indians. Captain Herkimer sent word to all residents to come into Fort Harkeman for protection. Joahnnes and Elizabetha with two of their children, one an infant, first went into the woods to drive in their cows. They were surprised by indians who killed Mr. Bell and the two children before Elizabetha’s eyes. Elizabetha was scalped, her nose nearly cut off and grievously wounded in her breast and thigh.  During the night she revived and somehow found it within herself to crawl some distance to the fort. The ladies at the fort stitched her nose back together, tended to her wounds and nursed her through her recovery and the birth three months later of a daughter Catherina. Scarred, but indomitable Elizabetha forever more wore a little black cap to cover her head wounds and a small soft spot that was always sensitive.

On the 13th of December 1761, Elizabeth remarried a widower with a large family, by the name of Theobold Nellis. Elizabetha gave him 2 more children.  Her surviving children by Johannes Bell were: Maria, Andrew, Frederick and Thomas, and of course the babe Catherina.

Elizabetha lived 32 years after the terrible bludgeoning. Going down into the cellar one day, she struck the soft spot on her head on a beam and this was believed to have caused her death soon after.

This is an exerpt from the story written by her descendant Sharilyn Whitaker.  You can read all about Elizabetha on the website in the previous story about Nancy Van Alstine.