Jacob Stover Nigh
The founder of this family name in Shelby county was John Nigh, who was born in Pennsylvania April 12, 1796, and migrated to Ohio in early manhood. There he married Cynthia Fix on October 31, 1822, and shortly after they removed to Shelby county, Indiana, and became early pioneers of Hanover township. The rest of their lives were passed on a farm, the husband dying August 27, 1856, and his wife, who was born August 27, 1803, died September 4, 1856. Jacob Stover Nigh, son of this pioneer couple, was born in December, 1845, and was left an orphan when about nine years old. Until 1870 he made his home with a brother-in-law in Van Buren township, when he married and engaged in farming on his own account. May 2, 1864, he enlisted for the one-hundred-day service in Company E, One Hundred Thirty-second Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and at the end of his time was honorably discharged. He also holds and is naturally proud of a certificate of discharge and thanks signed by Abraham Lincoln. October 14, 1864. Mr. Nigh enlisted in Company F, Twenty-fifth Regiment Indiana Infantry, with which he took part in Sherman's march to the sea, and the grand review at Washington. After receiving his final discharge Mr. Nigh returned home and resumed farming in Van Buren township. In 1904, he retired from active business and purchased a beautiful home in Fairland, where he had since made his residence. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and has attended the National Encampments at Washington, Louisville and Cincinnati.
January 13, 1870, Mr. Nigh married Mary E. Wicker, who was born October 20, 1847, and died September 4, 1886.
Their children were as follows: Minnie F., born December 23, 1870, married Roscoe Linville, and is now deceased; Nannie E., born September 23, 1872, married Ira Miller, of Van Buren township, and has three children, Clarence, Lella and Edna; Josephine, who was born December 17, 1874, died September 4, 1875; Thomas A., born March 10, 1876, died October 11, 1904, married Gerturde Miller, and left three children, Grace, Minnie and Opal; Verly M., born September 7, 1878, married Georgia Fortner, has tow children, Otis and Rufus, and lives on the old homestead; Mary L., born October 20, 1880, married Fred Linville, has three children, Lucille, Claude and Morris, and resides in Van Buren township. March 13, 1893, Mr. Nigh was married to Matilda A. Sleeth, a member of one of the oldest and best known families of Shelby county, and by this union there is one child, Ernest M., born December 18, 1893. The Sleeth family is of Irish origin, but has been identified with this county for nearly two hundred years.
Alexander Sleeth was born in New York City September 24, 1719, and according to tradition his birth occurred a few days after his parents landed from Ireland. We next hear of these Irish immigrants as settlers of Eastern Virginia, in the vicinity of Dunfree, where Alexander grew to manhood, married, had a son named John, lost his wife by death, and enlisted in the Revolutionary war.
He served six years in a Virginia regiment and was discharged with the rank of ensign and returned home.
Marrying again, he removed with his family across the mountains into what is now West Virginia, and located in Greenbrier county.
After a short residence in this place he crossed the Ohio and established a temporary home in Mad River Valley, which in turn was abandoned, and the migratory march was resumed further west. A final resting place was found in Fayette county, Indiana, above Connersville, where Alexander Sleeth lived until the time of his death, which occurred May 14, 1820. John removed to Shelby county, located in the woods of Marion township, and spent the rest of his days in fighting the forests and clearing them for agricultural purposes. He laid out the town of Marion which occupied part of his land. He became a citizen of prominence and influence and served as Judge of the Probate Court for a number of years, and was the ancestor of numerous descendants who have figured conspicuously in the making of Shelby county. John Sleeth, who was always patriotic like his forefathers, was a member of the militia during the War of 1812. His wife died March 7, 1839, aged over fifty-five years, and his own useful life ended September, 1851. John Sleeth's children were as follows: Samuel, born January 12, 1802, and died at the age of twenty-two; Polly, born January 9, 1805, married Martin Snow; Rachael, born February 5, 1808, married William Bolabaugh; Alvina, born April 7, 1811, married Joseph Johnston; John, Jr., born November 25, 1814, was the father of Matilda A. Sleeth, who is now Mrs. Jacob Stover Nigh; Nancy, born March 12, 1817, married Paris C. Talbert; Alexander, born November 4, 1819, died in infancy; Sarah, born January 26, 1824, married James W. Kennedy; Martin S., who was born March 1, 1828, died in infancy. John Sleeth, Jr., father of Mrs. Nigh, was born in Ohio, lived with his parents until he married, then came to Shelby county and spent the rest of his days as a farmer in Union township.
He served eight years as Trustee of his township. His schooling was limited in youth, but by study and reading in after life he became a well informed man. A Democrat up to 1852, he changed on the slavery question and was ever afterward a Republican.
He died in March, 1888. February 14, 1839, he married Rebecca Talbert, who died in October, 1883, and their children were as follows: Fernandes, born November 22, 1839, is now residing in Fairland; Addison, born April 29, 1842, lives in Humboldt, Kansas; Asa, born August 30, 1844, resides in Oregon; Sarah, born February 18, 1845, married John Stapp, and resides at Fairland; Anna M., born October 22, 1850, is also a resident of Fairland; Nancy L., born October 16, 1853, is the widow of Frederick Ross, and lives at Fairland; Matilda A., the youngest of the family, was born September 12, 1856, and is now Mrs. Nigh.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., Bowen, Indpls, 1909, pages 547-549.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming