Deitz, Nellie B.

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY
Nellie on porch of Deitz house Jug St Berne


Nellie B. Deitz was born on October 26, 1883 in Pleasant Valley, Town of Knox, Albany County, N.Y. Her parents were Ellery Willes Deitz (Feb 14, 1858- May 17, 1914), a stone mason, and Carrie E. Warner (Nov 22, 1858- Oct 19,1939). She had a brother, Frederick N. Deitz (November 3, 1887- October 23, 1950).


It is assumed that she had some formal schooling, perhaps at a school No.3 located at the corner of Tabor Road and Pleasant Valley.


Nellie B. Deitz moved with her parents and brother to a house on Jug Street, Berne, N.Y. in 1899. She was a member of the Berne Reformed Church.

At age 21 she became ill with progressive arthritis, causing her to spend most of the rest of her days confined to home. She spent many hours on the porch of her home, crocheting and observing the world around her. On June 25, 1913 she saw a contingent of Vermont Buffalo Soldiers pass by on their way to Virginia.

A devoted Christian, she took pleasure in writing letters and sending cards to relatives, friends, and neighbors. She appreciated visitors regularly nearly every day. She enjoyed reading and took magazine subscriptions for The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies' Home Journal, and The Country Gentleman. From 1908 to 1928 she kept records for magazine subscriptions in small year books. Because she added daily entries about the weather and visitors and family activities, these also became diaries.

In 1922 she was delighted to receive a radio for her birthday. This allowed her to listen to church services, dramas, political conventions and World Series games.


Nellie B. Deitz died on March 18, 1929 at age 45 in Berne, N.Y. A poem, "The Martyr of The Hills", written by the minister of her church, Rev. A. A. Seso, was read at her funeral. She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Town of Berne, Albany, N.Y.



At rest, Monday, March 18th, 1929, Nellie B. Deitz, daughter of the late Ellery Deitz. While the entire community mourns the passing of this beloved child of the village, all who love her rejoice in the thought of her release from the weary, pain-racked body. For twenty-four years a sufferer from arthritis, the ever-increasing torture of that progressive disease became intolerable in its anguish. Words fail to express the patient endurance, the uncomplaining resignation, the Christian fortitude that have characterized this saintly life. For a time she found pleasure in the use of a telephone; and more recently a radio gave her many pleasant hours. She delighted in the company of her friends, and her sunny smile and cheery greeting gave unfailing welcome. Rarely did she refer to her distressing condition, and then but briefly in answer to questions.

Interested in local, national and world activities, heartily consecrated to church and missionary enterprises, joyously helpful in her word of encouragement, her vision was not limited by the bondage of her armed rocker. She gaily jested while wisely she grasped at "more things than this world dreams of." Indeed, it would not seem amiss to say that like her Divine Master and Lord, she was "made perfect through suffering." Earth's tribulation ended, heaven's glory begun. The constant, unwearying care of her devoted mother has been the marvel of all who have witnessed it. Especially would we express our sorrow for her, and for the loyal and true-hearted brother and his entire family. How they will miss her tender ministry of sympathy and affection.

The funeral service was at the family home on Thursday afternoon, the officiating clergyman the Rev. A. A. Seso of Ghent, a former beloved pastor of the Berne Reformed church, where Miss Deitz was a member from her girlhood. The interment was in Woodlawn Cemetery.

"Father! in thy gracious keeping, Leave me now thy servant sleeping."

10/26/1883 - 03/18/1929, age 45

Other Media

The following poem was written by the minister of her church and was read at her funeral:


by A. A. Seso

She was a lovely mountain maid,

This maiden of the yesteryears:

Her childish years gave her a charm

As wholesome as the morning star;

The birds and cloud-ships overhead,

The trees and sweet smells in the air,

Taught her to look up and to laugh

And love as only a maiden can.

She laughed in glee, and nature too

Did laugh in echoes sweet and loud;

The mountains were her friends, and loved

To plant her path with flowers fair.

But hark! A distant boom! A crash!

The storm of pain with fury sped.

And smote the maiden's healthy frame –

A wreck which only God can mend.

Her frame was chained with shackles strong,

And pain, like fiery whips did twist

Her youthful limbs and blast the dreams

Of her sunlit and girlish years.

Yet no complaint her heart did breathe,

Her life no sin of murmur lisped;

Her patient faith was great indeed –

Patient, trustful, triumphal faith!

Thus lived this martyr of the hills,

Smiling in pain, laughing through tears,

Sending her sunshine far to cheer

A sad and darkened world, to lead

Some wand'ring ones to God and peace,

To free others from doubt and sin.

She loved us all, this maiden did –

She loved as only a maiden could.

A hush! The angels stopped to see

This martyr in her closing scene;

The end has come – the end of pain,

The end of fight she fought and won.

She left us, and the mountains, too,

To sail the seas of space and stars

To lands where sunsets never fade.

Farewell, beloved! Rest in God.