He received a limited education. He moved to Tuscarawas County in 1828 and engaged in agricultural pursuits, as well as being a contractor for some time. He held several local political offices and was delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Charleston in 1860.
Nugen was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1861 - March 3, 1863).
Retiring from politics, Nugen was the superintendent of the Ohio Canal until his death in Newcomerstown, Ohio, on February 28, 1872. He was interred in Newcomerstown Cemetery.