Biographical Sketch of John Nipp

From "History of Rush County, Indiana, 1888"
CRITICAL: The original says Rebecca (Townsend) Nipp.
JDH comments are in italics.



John Nipp, son of George and Rebecca (Townsend) Nipp, was born in Wythe County, Virginia, November 18, 1811. His father was a soldier in the War of 1812. In 1814, he (George) removed to Tennessee, and the following year came to Indiana (1815) and stopped at Connersville, a small Indian station on the outposts of the white settlements. In 1821, on the 11th day of March, the father with his wife and several small children, located on the farm now belonging to Dr. W. H. Smith, on Flat Rock. The children were Nancy, John (our subject), Jane and Martha. The following were born after the family came to Indiana: William, now in Marshall County; Leonidas, now in Grant County; Reuben, now in Seymore, Jackson County, and a sister (of John), Anna. John's father was a tanner by trade, and located a tannery on his farm in the wilderness just south of a point a quarter of a mile east of the bridge over Flat Rock, near Dr. Smith's country residence.

Here the family remained until 1826, when the farm was purchased by the late Dr. H. G. Sexton, and the family removed to a farm now owned by Martin Blacklidge. Here this pioneer prosecuted his farm work in season, and carried on shoe-making in winter. John grew to manhood among the scenes incident to pioneer life, and on September 15, 1836, married Catherine Goodmon, a native of Ohio. She was the daughter of James and Sarah (Johnson) Goodmon. These young people began house-keeping on the farm just west of Purnell Bishop's farm in Union township. The subject of this sketch was a natural mechanic and during the transition from log to frame buildings he stepped immediately to the front as a very skillful carpenter, as many of the best frame buildings in the county will testify.

After remaining here three years he removed to a farm now belonging to A. N. Norris. In 1842, he went to Grant County, and after spending two years there he came back to Rush Country and worked at his trade; during his life he built ten mills in Rush County, two in Grant County, and one in Decatur County. Streams which to-day would not furnish sufficient water to "turn a wheel", were, in those days, quite enough for the needs. In 1852, John moved to the farm on which he now resides, in Washington township. Here he hired to Adam Ammons by the year. He build the saw mill here in 1851 for Ammons, and in 1856, he built the grist mill known all over the country as Nipp's mill. He helped to build the second mill at Smelser's (the first having been built in 1822 by Stephen Cory). John Nipp built a combination mill for Philip Ertel. This was a woolen mill, a grist mill and a saw mill, on Flat Rock, near where Joel Carson now resides.

In 1858, in the month of July, his father, George Nipp, died at his (John's) home, after having walked from New Castle, in Henry County. In a few days the mother passed away; she died on 1st day of January, 1859. The following children were born to John and Sarah Nipp: George, deceased; Sarah, married W. Hendricks; James, married Malissa Hahn; William, Jane, married George Booth; John, married Lydia Glimpse; Vinson, deceased; Mary Ann, deceased. A few days after this sketch was written, John Nipp was called to his reward. His life closed on September 13, 1887. He was an honest, unassuming, conscientious man, respected by all. At the time of his death there was only one man living who had resided longer in the county than John Nipp; that man is Harmony Laughlin, of Rushville. Mr. Nipp was a man of remarkable memory, and gave the writer valuable information in the preparation of the school chapter in this work. His reputation for truthfulness and accuracy was so recognized that no one is found who questions his statements when talking of pioneer matters. "The good that men do lives after them", and the influence of the life of John Nipp will be felt in this community when the spot which marks his last resting place will have been forgotten.