Samuel Vail


Albany resident Samuel Vail appears to have been born in June 1766. He probably was a younger son in the large family of Aaron and Martha Ward Vail. About that time, his family moved up from Dutchess County to the Nassau area (today's Rensselaer County) where a younger brother was born in 1770. Samuel Vail's father was a well-known Quaker preacher. One source noted that his mother (born in 1724) was an Albany native and died there in 1812. However, we seek definitive information on his specific origins and path to Albany.

Perhaps, he was the "Samuel Vail" whose household was configured on the census for Rensselaerswyck in 1790. At that time, records show two men over sixteen as the sole occupants at that address. That location was said to be on the Albany-Boston road and was near a number of other "Vail" households. All these Vails appear to have been Quakers who had migrated from Dutchess County having previously lived on Long Island and/or in New Jersey.

Samuel Vail's wife was Dutchess County native Siche Doughty. Between 1791 and 1803, the marriage produced at least five children.

In 1800, the census for the first ward in Albany configured the household of "Samuel Veal" with three children, a young adult male and an adult woman in Samuel's age bracket. Subsequent city censuses, accounted for the development of his family.

In 1804, his residence on "Washington St." is said to have boarded senators Chipman and Schenck.

Beginning with the first city directory in 1813, he was identified as a merchant at 81 Court then South Market Street. Later, that residence was said to have been on the corner of South Market and Division. At that time, directories showed that he held the municipal positions as weigher of fish and iron, and as the measurer of salt.

He may have served as an "Adjutant" in 1814.

On July 17, 1849, the Albany newspaper carried the simple note that "Samuel Vail died, aged 83."

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Samuel Vail has no CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.; Introduction to the Samuel Vail family at HMGFM.

1804: Source given as "GS." Probably from a note to a vague reference in the Glen-Sanders Papers at N-YHS

first posted 1/20/17; updated 5/20/17