Nail, a leading old and respected citizen of Addison
Township, is a. native of what was then Rowann County, North
Carolina, where he was born September 1, 1809, being the sixth
in a family of thirteen children, born to Henry and Mary (Keller)
Nail. They were natives of Germany and Pennsylvania, respectively.
The former was born in 1771, and came to Pennsylvania
with his parents in 1774. About two years later they moved to
North Carolina, where his marriage with Mary Keller occurred in 1799. The family emigrated to Indiana and Shelby County in
1824, first settling in what is now Brandywine Township, and continued residents of this county until the father died.
The mother survived him a few years, and died in Illinois. The immediate
subject of this biography remained at home and assisted his parents
on the farm, until he attained the age of twenty-two years. He
received a very limited education, in consequence of the poor
facilities for schooling then in existence. January 8th, his marriage
with Cherry Wray was solemnized. He has always made farming
his occupation and has been uniformly successful. He now owns
420 acres of well improved land in this county, sixty acres in
Fulton County, and eighty acres in Missouri, beside some property
in Fairland. All of this is the accumulation of himself, assisted by
an economical and industrious wife. They both are members of
the Methodist Church, and have always tried to lead true and consistent Christian lives.
In politics, Mr. Nail was originally an old
line Whig. Since the downfall of that party, he has usually voted
for the best man without regard to party lines. Cherry (Wray) Nail,
wife of the above was born September 30, 1813. She was a
daughter of James and Tabitha (Bass) Wray, who were natives of
Virginia and North Carolina, respectively. They came to Shelby
County about 1822, where they resided until their deaths. James Wray, Mrs. Nail's father, was born
January 13, 1787, and died
October 8, 1865. Her mother was born July 5, 1789, and died
March 30, 1851. The father was a minister of the Gospel. Samuel and
Cherry Nail have had seven children, three boys and
four girls: Daniel W., James H., John W., Melinda,
Rebecca, Harriet A., and Nancy E. Daniel W. Nail was born
February 3, 1841. He married Lizzie Parker, and they have three
children, viz.: Harry, (who has lately wedded Nora Bass,)
Gracie and Carrie. James H. Nail was born December 25, 1844.
has been twice married, and his wedding with his present wife, Mary
Howe, took place December 30, 1883. Melinda Nail, now
Heistand, was born June 9, 1834. Her husband's name was
Benjamin Heistand, whose biography is given elsewhere. She is the
mother of four children: Rebecca, now Mrs. Samuel Hoover,
Mary E., wife of George Ballard, and Sarah, consort of
Mr. M. R. Montgomery; Samuel, the fourth, died several years ago.
Rebecca Nail, now Thomas; see biography of Allen Thomas.
Harriet A. Nail was born May 12, 1849. She was united in marriage
to Mr. Henry Malpas, August 2, 1867, and they now have three
children: Samuel H., Charles H., and Raleigh
McRae. Nancy E.
Nail was born June 5, 1851, and is now the widow of William F. Francis, who died August 10, 1880.
Three children were a result
of this union, only one of whom is now living, viz., Hattie Francis.
John W. Nail was born April 27, 1856. He married Miss Laura
Gray June 30, 1882. They have had two children, one now is Cherry Nail,
alive, Maud. Mr. Samuel Nail, the principal subject of this sketch,
has nineteen grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. Most
of this large family are engaged in the pursuit of farming. The
family of Mrs. Malpas lives in Indianapolis. The portraits of Mr.
and Mrs. Nail are presented on the opposite pages of this volume.
History of Shelby
County, Indiana, "Addison [Township] Sketches,"
pages 595-596, Brant
and Fuller, Chicago, 1887.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming