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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Vail

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 637-639 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The immigrant ancestor of the Vails of Troy was John Vail, of Wales or England, who settled in Rye, 1683, went to Southold, Long Island, about 1700, and died there previous to 1770, at the age of ninety-four years. The family, originally Vaill, went into France in 1513, beginning with John Vaill, born in Gloucester, who went into France with Henry VIII. as ensign. John, the American ancestor, was an English emmigrant, but is said to have been living in Wales prior to his coming to this country. He married and had a son, Benjamin.

(II) Benjamin, son of John Vail, lived on Long Island. He married and had a son Samuel.

(III) Samuel, son of Benjamin Vail, was born at Southold, Long Island, died at Goshen, New York, a farmer. He was one of the twenty men who in 1730 organized the town of Shelter Island. In 1740 he settled in Goshen. He married Hannah Pelty, and had issue.

(IV) Gilbert Townsend, son of Samuel and Hannah (Pelty) Vail, was born in Goshen, New York, 1740, and died a soldier of the revolution, July 22, 1779, killed in the battle of Minisink. He was a minute-man in Colonel Hatfield's regiment, member of Captain John Wood's company. His name is on the monument at Goshen, reared to the memory of the men who died at that unequal fight. He married Hannah Arnot and had issue.

(V) Joseph, son of Gilbert Townsend Vail, was born at Goshen, New York, April 27, 1770 (or 1768), died 1828. Was ensign in Colonel Hatfield's regiment, 1789; was a weaver by trade. He married Mary (or Julia) Smith. Children:

  1. Pelty, born March 20, 1789;
  2. Edmund, 1792;
  3. John, January 24, 1800;
  4. Townsend McCoun, see forward.

(VI) Townsend McCoun, son of Joseph and Mary (or Julia) (Smith) Vail, was born in Montgomery county, New York, February 28, 1803, died in Troy, September 17, 1869. He early became a resident of Troy, where he was prominently engaged in the flour trade. He was at the head of a large business and as his sons grew to manhood they were admitted as partners. He was an active member of the Presbyterian church, and a man of high character and principles. He married, May 31, 1831, Martha Maria, daughter of Joseph Card, born in Newport, Rhode Island, July 5, 1766, died May 7, 1837, at Troy, New York, who married Hannah McCourt, born September 24, 1776, died December 1, 1849. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Card:

  1. Elizabeth Grace, born May 12, 1796;
  2. John McCoun, April 26, 1799, died April 27, 1847;
  3. Richard William, October 10, 1804, died March 23, 1862;
  4. Martha Maria, December 2, 1807;
  5. Samuel McCoun, January 29, 1820, died in October 25, 1848.

Children of Townsend M. and Martha Maria Vail:

  1. Samuel McCoun, see forward;
  2. Mary Elizabeth, born July 30, 1837, married Charles R. Church;
  3. Ezra Reed, April 5, 1841; an active business man of Troy;
  4. Joseph Card, May 25, 1845.

(VII) Samuel McCoun, eldest son of Townsend M. and Martha Maria (Card) Vail, was born in Troy, New York, June 7, 1832, died April 24, 1889. He was educated in public and private schools of Troy. He was taken into the business house of Vail & Hayner, flour merchants, and later admitted a partner, the new firm of T. M. Vail & Son, succeeding Vail & Hayner. He succeeded his father as head of the business which was carried on most successfully until freight rates and a decreased supply of home grown wheat made the business less profitable. Mr. Vail was intimately connected with many of the important Troy enterprises. He was active in the directorate of the Troy Savings Bank, was trustee, 1869, second vice-president, 1879, and first vice-president, 1886. He was most deeply interested and earnest in promoting the erection of the Troy Savings Bank building. He was a director of the old Troy and Boston Railroad, and interested in other railroad enterprises. He was one of the directors of the Congress Street Bridge Company; the Troy Gaslight Company, and an organizer of the Troy Club. He was a member of the Second Presbyterian Church, and served many years as trustee. He was a member of the building committee, who rebuilt and enlarged that church. He was executor of the large estate of Betsey A. Hart, and in his various capacities was instrumental in having many good residences erected in the city. He was a valuable citizen, and one whose support of any good enterprise to benefit Troy could be relied upon. His public spirit was well-known and he was always consulted on important city matters. Politically he was a Democrat. He married, June 7, 1858, Frances, daughter of Richard P. Hart, of Troy (see Hart VII). Children:

  1. Thomas, see forward;
  2. Fannie Hart, married Sydney G. Ashmore;
  3. Martha Card.

(VIII) Thomas, son of Samuel M. and Frances (Hart) Vail, was born in Troy, October 26, 1860. He was educated in the public schools of Troy; preparatory school of Washington, Connecticut; preparatory school at South Williamstown, Massachusetts. After completing his studies, he entered the employ of J. M. Warren & Company, at Troy, later became purchasing agent for the Fuller & Warren Company, and on the death of his father took charge of Mrs. Vail's property. He became prominently identified with the banking interests of Troy, and for many years has confined himself exclusively to the banking business. He was vice-president of the National City Bank of Troy, and in 1909 was elected president. He is a trustee of the Troy Savings Bank and in 1910 was made first vice-president; president of the Troy and Cohoes Railroad Company; director of the Troy & West Troy Bridge Company; Troy & Bennington Railroad Company; Rensselaer & Saratoga Railroad Company; Albany & Vermont Railroad Company; Lansingburg & Cohoes Railroad Company, and the Fuller & Warren Company. Notwithstanding his many and varied business interests, Mr. Vail devotes much time to the charitable institutions and churches of his city. He is a trustee of the Troy Orphan Asylum; director of the Samaritan Hospital; trustee of the Presbyterian Church Home; has been a member for forty years of the Second Street Presbyterian Church, (now united with the First Presbyterian Church of Troy). He was treasurer of the old church for ten years and a trustee for many years; he is president of the board of trustees of the present church. To these institutions he gives the closest attention and the benefit of years of business experience and skill as a financier. He is independent in politics, and in 1909 was the unsuccessful candidate for city treasurer. For ten years he was a member of the Citizens' Corp, and is a member of the Troy Club. He married, November 5, 1896, Mary Eliza, daughter of Colonel Walter P. Warren. Children, born in Troy: Martha Warren, Frances Hart, Mary Warren, Phoebe Hart.

(The Hart Line)

The American ancestor of Frances (Hart) Vail, of Troy, New York, was Nicholas Hart. The "Savage Genealogy" [James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England] says: "Nicholas Hart was of Taunton, Massachusetts, 1642, and was ex-communed there and came to Boston, Massachusetts, 1643, remained there until 1648, a merchant." He was a colonial soldier in William Pool's company, 1643. He married Joanna, youngest daughter of Edward Rossiter, who came from England with Governor John Winthrop, of Massachusetts. The "Austin Genealogy" says: "Nicholas Hart of Warwick, Rhode Island, left one son only; Richard, born probably in England in 1635." See forward.

(II) Richard, only son of Nicholas Hart, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was a mariner. December 10, 1657, he received a grant of eight acres of land in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Letters of administration were granted on his estate, February 4, 1694-95. He was probably lost in a gale at sea. He married Hannah Keen; children, born at Portsmouth:

  1. Alice, born March 8, 1664; married George Reace;
  2. Richard, see forward;
  3. Mary, married John Tripp, of Portsmouth;
  4. Nicholas, born 1673, lived at Little Compton;
  5. William, lived at Dartmouth, now New Bedford, Massachusetts;
  6. Samuel, lived at Tiverton, Rhode Island.

(III) Richard (2), oldest son of Richard (1) and Hannah (Keen) Hart, was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1667. His will was made April 19, 1745, probated June 10, 1745. He resided in Little Compton, Rhode Island, near the Tiverton line. Tradition says his second wife, Amy, long survived him; there was a path on the farm leading to five graves of Hart families with only plain granite stones, called the "Amy Hart" path. She frequently visited these graves, and wore the path. He married (first) in 1693, Hannah (supposed to have been Hannah Williams). He married (second) October 3, 1708, Amy Gibbs. Children of first wife, born in Little Compton:

  1. Alice, married Nathan Closson;
  2. Mary, married ———— Peasham;
  3. Sarah, married Daniel Wilcox;
  4. Richard, see forward;
  5. Comfort, married John Gifford;
  6. Stephen, born August 2, 1712.

(IV) Captain Richard (3), eldest son of Richard (2) and Hannah Hart, was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island, December 22, 1704, died there July 22, 1792. He was a farmer. He married (first) at Little Compton, February 4, 1725, Mary Taber, died November, 1760. He married (second) at Tiverton, Rhode Island, Abigail Taber. Children of first wife, born in little Compton:

  1. John, born April 4, 1729;
  2. Hannah, married John Macomber;
  3. William, born January 3, 1733;
  4. Phoebe, married ———— Howard;
  5. Richard, of Saratoga, New York;
  6. Mary, married Nicholas Lapham;
  7. Lombard, born February 3, 1742, Susannah, married Philip Macomber;
  8. Jeremiah, who sold his interest in the Dutchess county farm, taken jointly with his brothers, Richard and Philip, and settled later on a farm in Saratoga county, New York, on the shores of Saratoga Lake; he was a scout in the American army during the revolution; he married Abigail Pearsall; he died on the Saratoga county farm in a log house by the lake;
  9. Philip, see forward.

(V) Philip, youngest son of Captain Richard (3) and Mary (Taber) Hart, was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island, January 12, 1749, died on the farm in Dutchess county, New York, August 31, 1837. He went with his brothers, Richard and Jeremiah, about 1770, to Dutchess county, and bought a large farm on the turnpike leading from Poughkeepsie, New York, to Sharon, Connecticut, about fifteen miles east of the former city. On this farm Richard Hart built a house which was later occupied by Philip and is yet standing (1903). Soon after 1770 many families from Dartmouth, Massachusetts, settled at this point, including several Hart families and a Benjamin Aiken (2) and family. It became known as Hart's Village, now Millbrook. On January 7, 1784, he bought out the equity of his brothers, Richard and Jeremiah, in the farm and later purchased the dower right of his stepmother, Abigail Hart, and became sole owner of the Dutchess county farm. He built a new house on the farm in which he resided until his death. Family tradition states that he was a soldier of the revolution in 1776. He married, December 18, 1774, Susannah Aiken, born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, daughter of Benjamin (2) and Mary (Alen) Aiken. Children:

  1. Mary, married Jacob Merritt;
  2. Richard Philip, see forward;
  3. Catherine, married Dr. Alfred Tredway;
  4. Philip, lived at Hart's Village;
  5. Jacob Aiken, born October 28, 1786;
  6. Benjamin, April 22, 1789;
  7. William, died in childhood;
  8. Susannah, married Willis Harlan;
  9. Phoebe, twin of Susannah, married Joseph Lapham;
  10. William, died unmarried;
  11. Eliza, married Isaac Merritt;
  12. Isaac, married Harriet E. Griswold, and resided in Troy.

(VI) Richard Philip, eldest son of Philip and Susannah (Aiken) Hart, was born in Hart's Village, New York, February 11, 1780, died December 27, 1843. He became one of Troy's most successful merchants and left a large estate. He married (first) January 9, 1800, Phoebe Bloom, of Clinton, New York, daughter of Judge Isaac Bloom. Married (second) February 10, 1805, Delia Maria, daughter of James Dole. Married (third) February 8, 1816, Betsey Amelia Howard (his cousin), daughter of William and Rebecca (French) Howard, of Quaker Hill, Dutchess county, New York. He had fourteen children, all by his last wife:

  1. Mary Amelia, born November 17, 1816; married, April 25, 1837, Harrison Durkee.
  2. Harriet Howard, May 11, 1818, died September 10, 1870; married, September 29, 1836, Thompson Doughty, of Troy.
  3. Phoebe Bloom, June 30, 1819, died October 24, 1870; married, November 20, 1838, David Thomas Vail, of Troy.
  4. William Howard, April 7, 1820, died April 3, 1883; married Mary Elizabeth Lane.
  5. Elizabeth H., July 2, 1822; married John A. Griswold, of Troy.
  6. Jane Rebecca, June 20, 1824, died November 15, 1861; married Samuel Gale Doughty.
  7. Richard, May 21, 1826, married Maria Davis Tillman, of Troy.
  8. Joseph Moss, November 4, 1827.
  9. Susan, September 21, 1829, died young.
  10. Caroline, February 23, 1831; married, February 20, 1851, Hamilton Le Roy Shields, of the United States army.
  11. Julia Ann, March 20, 1833; married William Burden, of Troy.
  12. Sarah Wool, October 14, 1834, died unmarried.
  13. Frances, July 14, 1835; married Samuel McCoun Vail.
  14. Austin Spencer, March 7, 1841, died December 6, 1842.

(VII) Frances, twelfth child of Richard P. and Betsey Amelia (Howard) Hart, married Samuel M. Vail, (see Vail VII), and they are the parents of Thomas Vail, of Troy.

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