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.
The Shelbyville Republican
Monday May 26, 1947
Page 3 column 3
MANY ANTIQUES IN HOME
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
20 years ago, Mr. Nail became interested in antiques.
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.
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