Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Vail Connection

Source: CDPL Digital Collection.
I have written before about my 4th-great-grandfather James Vail, who arrived in Montgomery County, Indiana sometime before March 1839 and married Selina Hampton. I have struggled to find parents for James, but by revisiting another James Vail who was living close by in the same county I may be able to overcome this brick wall.

In the 1840 US Census, there is an older James Vail (listed between 40 and 50 years old) in Union Township, Montgomery County, Indiana. I originally thought this might be my James' father. This James married widow Lavinah Lincoln on 26 October 1834 in Montgomery County, Indiana. A copy of their marriage record is shown above. Lavinah was James' second wife, he was previously married to Esther Russell in Butler County, Ohio on 15 August 1821.

James and Esther moved from Ohio to Vermilion County, Illinois sometime before 1830. James bought 80 acres in Vermilion County on 1 December 1830. They moved from Vermilion County to Montgomery County, Indiana sometime before 1834. Esther Russell Vail died in Montgomery County in July 1834.

Lavinah Vail died sometime before 1843, and then James married another widow, Martha Ann Clevenger White on 20 April 1843. Martha had previously married William T. White in the county on 2 January 1835.
Source: CDPL Digital Collection.
Unfortunately I cannot yet find James, Martha and family in the 1850 US Census, although they should be living in Montgomery County. I have looked page by page through Union, Scott, Brown, Clark, Coal Creek, Franklin, Sugar Creek, Wayne, Walnut, Ripley and Madison Townships, and the family is not listed. They next appear in Union Township in the 1860 US Census. The children listed in the census were children of James and Martha.

The family appears again in the 1870 US Census in Union Township, Montgomery County, Indiana.

James Vail died on 7 July 1871 in Montgomery County, leaving his wife Martha 55 and 1/2 acres in the county. He is buried in the New Pleasant Cemetery in Montgomery County.

James is referenced in a biography of his son, James A. Vail, in the History of Montgomery County, Indiana, Volume 2, pages 904-905. He is said to have been "one of the early settlers of Montgomery County and he became well established here through his industry."

As a recap, based on my research so far, James Vail and Esther Russell had at least the following children:
- Peter Vail, born 20 August 1821 in Butler County, Ohio, died 6 Sept 1908 in Elkhart, Indiana
- Samuel Vail, born 1824 in Butler County, Ohio, died October 1899 in Montgomery County, Indiana
- Sarah Vail, born 14 August 1825 in Butler County, Ohio, died 16 May 1880 in Fountain County, Indiana

James and Lavinah Lincoln do not appear to have had children.

James and Martha Ann Clevenger White had six children children according to Martha's obituary:
- Samuel Vail, born about June 1844
- Shubal (or Shobal) C. Vail, born 18 January 1844, died 29 September 1912
- James A. Vail, born 22 November 1847, died 16 April 1912
- Alvin Vail, born 4 October 1849
- Abraham Albert Vail, born 4 October 1849, died 23 January 1934
- Noah B. Vail, born December 1853

My theory is that my James is a nephew of this James Vail. I have a number of DNA connections which lead me to believe exploring the Vail family links in Butler County, Ohio may uncover the connection between the families.


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