Roy  Nail

The  Shelbyville  Republican
Monday May 26, 1947
Page 3 column 3
            Roy Nail, 64-year-old builder of barns, has plied the ago-old trade of carpentry to the fullest, deriving not only a satisfactory livelihood but extensive personal enjoyment through hobbies in his trade’s finer aspects.
            In the Nail home at 212 North Pike Street are several "zebra wood" chests and a beautiful cherry sideboard, fine examples of cabinet making which Mr. Nail built in spare hours as gifts for Mrs. Nail and his three daughters.
            Their quaint old home, which Mr. Nail remodeled himself, reflects in its antique furnishings his respects for craftsmanship in old furniture and fine woods. Baseboards and window frames in their dining room are of cherry-more of Mr. Nail’s handiwork-and the room is furnished in cherry pieces.
            In cherished abstract of title, the history of the present Nail homesite unfolds like a story. John Love homestead the tract in 1820 when James Monroe was president, the first legal recording being made on October 9 of that year. A warranty deed dated December 27, 1852, refers to the Lawrenceburg and Upper Mississippi Railroad, purchasers of a corner of the tract for a right of way. In 1873, according to a resolution noted in the abstract, the railroad’s name was changed to the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad. When Elias Johnson bought the property in 1879, the railroad is mentioned as the Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Lafayette. Apparently a house had been built, because price of the tract jumped from $400 to $1,000 between legal recordings. Mr. Nail bought the place from the late Christian Steinhauser, and after his one-man remodeling job of the original house, moved his family from 917 Morris Avenue, to their new home.
            Mr. Nail was 18 when he started building barns with his father, J. E. Nail, who died in 1940 at the age of 81.
            "Together, my father and I worked the trade for over 100 years," Mr. Nail stated proudly. They worked jointly on more than 50 barns, not only in Indiana but as far afield as Texas, with a few houses thrown in to vary the routine.
            Mr. Nail has an air of quiet dignity about him attributable, possibly, to all the years of being his own boss. He had never worked for another carpenter for more than a few weeks.
            His youth was spent in Washington township, and it wasn’t until Roy Nail was 16 that the family moved to Shelbyville. He waited until he was 36 years old before he married a neighbor, Junie Ellen Conger, who lived just down the road from his home. The Nails have three girls, Geraldine, a freshman in the local high school whose name appears consistently on the A honor roll; Jacquelyn, aged 13, and June, 11.
            More than 20 years ago, Mr. Nail became interested in antiques.
            "I got the habit of going to sales and picking up old furniture with the idea of rebuilding it," Mr. Nail explained. His love for old things extended itself to old china and glass of which he has fine collections. He confesses, with a twinkle, that he collects everything, and he’s not far wrong. In the Nail living room is a glass-doored cabinet, which contains collections of old firearms, Indian relics and aged documents.
            In his basement workshop, his extensive collection of tools includes pieces well over 100 years old-"and I still use them," he asserts.
Contributed by Barb Huff

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