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Jeremiah VAIL

Male 1618 - 1687  (69 years)

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  • Name Jeremiah VAIL 
    Born 1618  Norwich, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1687  Southold, Suffolk County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Old Burying Ground of First Presbyterian Church, Southold, Suffolk County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • (1) Vail, Henry H., Genealogy of Some of the Vail Family Descended from Jeremiah Vail at Salem, Mass., New York, NY: The Vail-Ballou Press, Inc., 1902, pp. 17-29:

      It was in some respects fortunate for America that Charles I. of England was an unwise, inconstant ruler. His acts drove to New England thousands of the best yeomen of England. A few even of the gentry came over, of whom Sir Harry Vane was the most conspicuous. When Parliament took up arms against the king, Sir Harry Vane returned to England and fought under Cromwell. Others of less note went back to England for the same purpose. It is said that George Dennison left the grave of his wife immediately after her burial aud sailed directly to England, where he fought valiantly for the Parliamentary cause until the king was captured and beheaded. Dennison then took part, under Cromwell, in the stirring campaigns in Ireland, where he found his second wife. He then returned to New England with his wife as quietly as if he had merely been off on a summer vacation.

      The greatest single mass of emigrants that came to New England in the seventeenth century was composed of men such as are described above. They landed at a place then inhabited by a few Englishmen, and which they called by its Indian name, Naumkeag. The new settlers under Captain John Endicott called the place Salem, or Peace.

      In 1639 Salem had become the largest town in America occupied by people speaking the English tongue. There were then but ten or a dozen scattered groups of white settlers on the whole Atlantic coast, and Salem had about one thousand inhabitants. Among them there was a blacksmith named Jeremiah Vail. This was our first ancestor.

      We do not know by what ship he came nor the port from which he sailed. There is evidence to show that he was English and not Welsh. He was married, and his wife's name was probably Catharine. He had three children born there, and they were duly baptized in the First Church of Salem, in which Samuel Skelton was pastor and Francis Higginson was teacher. This baptismal record approximates their birth dates.

      He joined with his fellow-settlers in the struggle for existence in the forest-clad hills. He aided to clear the forests, to build houses, to make roads and to fight Indians. The public records of that date are wonderfully full when the stress of labor, of watching and of fasting is considered. Private records are, however, very rare and scanty; even the records of family bibles do not well cover this earliest period.

      According to the public records of Salem, Mass., Jeremiah Vail was a witness there in a court held July 24, 1639; he became a proprietor in 1647; bought land in 1648; sold it in 1651 and removed out of the jurisdiction. On April 6,1645, Catharine Vail was admitted to the church in Salem. This was probably his wife. It is probable that Jeremiah Vail followed his trade as blacksmith in Salem for eleven years. He then removed to Gardiner's Island, then called the Isle of Wight. Previous to his removal to Gardiner's Island, at a town meeting held in Southampton, Long Island, June 17, 1651, the town "Granted a £100 lot to Jeremy Veale, Blacksmith of Salem [Mass.] provided he do come and settle here before January next and that to his power he in readiness doe all the blacksmith work that the inhabitants doe stand in need of." This offer of land in Southampton probably originated with Thomas Vail, who was a resident at Southampton before May 10, 1649. It has been assumed that Thomas Vail and Jeremiah Vail were brothers. They were probably related.

      Jeremiah Vail did not accept the offer of land made by the town of Southampton, but with Anthony Waters took charge of the farm of Lieutenant Lion Gardiner on his island, which he had bought from the Indians in 1639, and to which he removed after his term of service ended at Fort Saybrooke. Lieutenant Gardiner remained on the island for some years, but in 1653 took his family over to Easthampton and left Gardiner's Island in charge of his farmers. In legal and ecclesiastical affairs Gardiner's Island was subject to the authority of the town of Easthampton, and its early records contain several brief statements respecting Jeremiah Vail. There was a difference between him and an Indian sachem named Wyandance with regard to an old log canoe. It was taken into court by Lieutenant Gardiner and decided against Vail, and he paid the Indian damages. In this case servants on the island under Vail appeared as witnesses.

      From 1653 until 1655 Jeremiah Vail superintended the farm work on Gardiner's Island and was occupied in reducing to cultivation that wooded waste of land. On February 12, 1655, by action of the town of Easthampton, it was "Ordered that Jeremiah Vaile shall have the Lott adjoining to Joshua Garliek Reserved for him till his time be expired with Mr, Gardiner." This lot was opposite the present site of the Presbyterian church in Easthampton, and there beside his neighbor, Goodman Garlick, he lived with his family for four years, 1655-59.

      Goody Garlick, the wife of Joshua Garlick, had the misfortune to be accused as a witch, and in February, 1657, had her trial in Easthampton. There was much of the usual testimony given in such cases, tending to show that Goodwife Garlick had exerted some mysterious evil influence upon certain ill persons and weak-minded children; but Goodman Vail and his wife appeared as witnesses in her behalf, and his testimony tended to show that the supposed supernatural events came from simple and ordinary physical causes. When the belief in witchcraft was so strong and terrifying it is worthy of notice that Jeremiah Vail showed a sound head and a good heart. As for Goody Garlick, the Easthampton authorities, after taking much rambling and incoherent evidence which was gravely recorded in the town books, concluded that their wisdom and experience were not sufficient for so important a case, and they sent her in March for trial to the authorities at New Haven, Ct. Under the town laws witchcraft was subject to the death penalty. Governor Winthrop was a wise man, and after due examination he sent Goodwife Garlick back to her home and wrote a letter to the authorities in Easthampton charging them to "carry neighborly and peaceably without just offence to Jos. Garlick and his wife and that they should do the like to you." This letter ended witchcraft trials in that town.

      Before March 24, 1659, Jeremiah Vail sold his homestead in Easthampton to Robert Parsons and John Kirtland, and he probably then removed to Southold, Long Island, where he had owned land for some seven years.

      No record has been found of the death of his first wife, the mother of his three eldest children; but she died about this date, and in Liber B, p. 117, of the Southold records is found the evidence of his marriage, May 24, 1660, to Mary Paine, widow of Peter Paine. His daughters were then sixteen and thirteen years of age respectively, and his son Jeremiah was eleven. His settlement at Southold became permanent, and he lived there on the lot which had been occupied by Peter Paine.

      It seems, however, that Jeremiah Vail did not remove all his property from Easthampton. A cow in the keeping of Stephen Osburne was attached, "prised" and sold to satisfy the town rates and the claim of a Pequot Indian for labor. A bill of particulars is on record including four shillings for the " transport of the pay to the pequit," and the town got its rates. After that date, December 27, 1660, his name does not appear in Easthampton records.

      Since Southold thus became the permanent home of Jeremiah Vail, it may be well to give a short account of this town. Originally it embraced all the northeastern end of Long Island westward of Wading River and north of Peconic River and Bay, with the islands adjacent on the east. . . . It extended fully one third across Long Island from east to west. The two towns of Riverhead and Shelter Island have been organized from territory formerly within Southold.

      There were settlers in Southold before the arrival of the Rev. John Youngs and his associates, but the organization of the town and of its church dates from his coming in October, 1640. The town took its name from that of Southwold, England, where the Rev. John Youngs probably preached and where his parents lived. Some of his congregation came from Suffolk County in eastern England, and later this name was given to the county on Long Island in which Southold lies. The village was laid out at the head of a quiet bay extending westward from the narrow channel that separates Shelter Island from Long Island. On the main street, which extended westward, they laid out their "home lots" of from four to seven acres, giving the choicest position to their pastor, and they there built the rude log houses which served their temporary use. It is evident that the street was laid out through the woods, since seventeen years later it was ordered in town meeting that each inhabitant should take up and carry away all the stumps in front of his lot before March, 1657, on a penalty of twelvepence for each stump left.

      The Indian title to the lands was extinguished, and later an English title was secured from Mr. James Parrett, the agent of the Earl of Stirling, to whom the Scotch-loving King James had given this entire island. In the years immediately following the settlement of the town all purchases of land from the Indians were made in the name and interest of the "freeholders and inhabitants," and were held by them or divided among them in proportion as each one contributed to the expense. Thus the commonage was acquired. Later, rights in the common lands were granted by the town; but soon there were inhabitants who were not owners of commonage, and the control of the commonage was, after much contention, given to the owners who were organized as a corporation separate from the town.

      Through the division of common lands the several freeholders became possessed of various lots, sometimes of small extent, dotted over a wide region. Exchanges and purchases were active, and a series of such trades brought these scattered fragments into farms of convenient size and form.

      A glance at the map which has been engraved expressly for this book will show the positions of the several towns which afforded the homes of the Vail family in the early generations. The names on the map are generally those found on the map in the first edition of Thompson's History of Long Island, dated 1842.

      Until 1662 Southold was one of the sixteen towns forming the colony of New Haven; but in this year John Winthrop obtained a new and very liberal charter for Connecticut, which by its terms brought into Connecticut not only all the towns adhering to New Haven, but extended the limits of Connecticut "to the South Sea on the West parte."

      Southold submitted very promptly to the authorities at Hartford by a letter dated October 4, 1662, signed by thirty-two citizens of Southold, appointing Colonel John Youngs as their deputy. Jeremiah Vail was one of the signers of this letter, which was read at Hartford on October 9 - the day on which the charter was first publicly read. At the same time twenty-six citizens of Southold, including "Jer: Vayle," were accepted freemen of Connecticut, Of this number only three were recorded with the honorary "Mr."

      This union of Long Island towns with Connecticut was of short duration, for in August, 1664, an English naval force seized New Amsterdam, which Charles II. had given beforehand to his brother James, then Duke of York and Lord High Admiral. This gift embraced half of Connecticut and all of Long Island, so that the English towns on the eastern end of Long Island were by this act joined under one government with the Dutch towns on the western end. The English towns desired to remain with Connecticut. They even made some show of resistance to the Dutch force in 1673, when the Dutch temporarily regained New York and held it for a year. When, however, the powers across the water became weary of fighting and made peace, February 19, 1674, no consideration was given to the wishes of these far-away towns. The entire island was joined to New York, and from that time Southold was a part of that colony and State. The inhabitants of this town were thus, without moving from home, subject to four different jurisdictions within twelve years.

      As a freeman of Southold Jeremiah Vail held in his own name, in 1676, about five hundred acres of land, and through his marriage with the widow Paine he occupied the four-acre home lot originally allotted to Peter Paine, and held also some fifty acres in various other early divisions.

      In the year 1683 Jeremiah Vail appeared again in the records of Salem, Mass. Acting as administrator of the estate of Nathaniel Pierson, Sr., he petitioned the court for leave to sell lands in order to pay the debts and divide the estate among heirs. The petition was granted February 16.

      On July 18,1685, Jeremiah Vail made a deed jointly with his son John; both their wives, Joyce Vail and Grace Vail, signed as witnesses. According to the enumeration made in 1686 his family then consisted of four males and two females. Comparing this with his will executed the previous year, it appears that these were Jeremiah Vail, Sr.; his sons, John and Daniel; his third wife, Joyce; and Grace Vail, the wife of his son John. The fourth male I cannot name.

      In 1675 Jeremiah Vail was rated for taxation at £152, he being then one of the well-to-do citizens of Southold; but eight years later he was rated at only £74. It seems that he made some provision from his estate for his elder children before making his will, in which no one of the three elder children was named. In this will, dated at Southold, December 4, 1685, he describes himself as "Jeremy Veale, Senior,'' thus recognizing his eldest son, who was then a man forty years of age, and who up to the date of his father's death signed his name "Jeremiah Vail, Junior." This will was probated October 19, 1687. It is therefore probable that the senior Jeremiah Vail died in 1687, aged nearly seventy years. By will, he gave his dwelling house, certain lands and a right of commonage, with all his household goods and movables, cattle, horses and swine, to his son John, reserving to his "beloved wife Joyce Vale her thirds during her life." To his son Daniel he gave certain lands and a first lot of commonage. He also gave lands to Jeremy Foster, the son of Joseph Foster of Southampton, and other lands to Thomas Tustan of Southold, his "well beloved friend and neighbor."

      It will be noticed that John Vail inherited the homestead in Southold subject to the widow's use. We should therefore expect to find these names associated later, and they do so appear in the census list of 1698.

      It is possible to learn much of the manner of life in those days by a careful study of their public records - the action of town meetings and the records of court proceedings, their deeds, wills and the occasional subsequent inventories. Prom these we learn what tools they had, what supplies they kept, what furniture was in their houses, what clothing they wore and what they ate and drank.

      The settlers of Southold were Puritans in full accord with the colony of New Haven. The first minister, Rev. John Youngs, was probably an ordained priest of the English Church, and his father, Rev. Christopher Youngs, was vicar of Reydon, Suffolk County, England, some three or four miles northwest from the village on the coast of the North Sea named Southwold. It is supposed that the son served as his father's curate. The English records show that on May 11, 1637, John Youngs of St. Margarett's, Suffolk, minister, aged 35 years, and Joan his wife, aged 43 years, with six children, were forbidden passage in the Mary Anne of Yarmouth to Salem in New England. It is supposed that he then went westward some twenty-five miles to Hingham and remained two years. But in 1640 the Rev. John Youngs was certainly in Southold, Long Island, with his second wife, Mary, daughter of Thomas Warren of Southwold, and the same six children named in the record of the previous attempt to migrate.

      On October 21, 1640, the church in Southold, Long Island, was founded and the Rev. John Youngs became the first pastor. He was a man of great ability and personal worth, and his numerous descendants are justly proud of their lineage.

      The church, as organized by the Puritans, was a power in the land. Settlers in the town were not admitted to the full rights of citizenship unless they were fitted for church membership. The church was supported by rates or taxes collected from all townsmen. The affairs of the town were controlled by the town meetings, in which only church members could then take part. The ministers were given the first choice in the allotment of land. They were honored in public and in private. They were consulted on all important occasions and hats were removed in their presence. Marriages, however, were made in the presence of a civil magistrate and not in church or by the pastor.

      Within the meeting-house people were seated in strict accordance with their supposed importance and rank. A committee took charge of the matter and decided where each man might sit or build a pew. The title Mr. was given to college graduates, ministers, lawyers, and to such as had held public office. The wife of such an honored man was called Mistress. The ordinary townsman was called Good man and his wife was Good wife or simply Goody. In the year 1686, of the one hundred and eight heads of families in Southold only three were given the honorary title of Mr.

      The first houses built were merely log huts; but these were soon replaced by buildings framed of solid oak and covered externally, roof and sides, with shingles. The windows wrere small and filled at first with oiled paper, but later with glass. The floors were of oak and the partitions of wainscot. The heating apparatus was an open fireplace of great size, and the fire in this served for cooking. Beds, chests, benches, stools and a table formed the chief furniture. They ate from wooden trenchers or pewter plates. They had no forks - these were little used in England before 1650. The first generation drank no tea or coffee. The former came in use in Massachusetts about 1700 and the latter somewhat earlier. Earthen ware they had, but there was no china and no plated ware and very little glass ware. On the other hand, silver tankards and silver spoons are frequently mentioned in early inventories.

      Within the fireplace the swinging crane supported the iron or brass pots and kettles over the fire aud turned outward to admit of their easy removal. Iron skillets and gridirons on three legs snuggled among the coals in front of the logs that formed the fire. Later the outdoor brick oven or the Dutch oven of bright tin was used for baking; but at first the food was cooked by the direct action of the fire in roasting or broiling and by boiling. Beef was little used, as cattle were not plentiful and were therefore dear. The chief meat in the earliest years was pork, although fish and game were abundant.

      Indian corn was the grain chiefly used at first, and it was the great vegetable contribution made by America to the food of mankind. Corn produced abundant returns as soon as the trees were girdled or felled and the ground was freed from other growths. Turnips, beans, peas and squashes were raised, but no potatoes. In 1585 the potato was carried from America and planted in Ireland on the estate owned by Sir Walter Raleigh. They came into common use in Ireland early in the eighteenth century and were brought thence to America by emigrants of Scotch descent after 1700, They thus became known here as Irish potatoes. They were not commonly cultivated in England until about 1812.

      It should be remembered that some of the modern methods of preserving food were then unknown. They had no canned goods and no refrigerated beef. In the winter salted meats and fish were the staple articles and vegetables were scanty.

      For drink there was plenty of water; but the Englishman of that day was a beer drinker. There was soon plenty of homebrewed beer, and later, as apple trees were grown to come into bearing, cider was much used. The first generations used no wine and but little spirits.

      Children were baptized within a week after birth with single scriptural names that have now passed out of use. After the first generation nearly every adult person could read and write. From the first the inventories show that there were some books in nearly every house. Jeremiah Vail certainly had some in his.

      In Southold there was little danger from Indian attacks; but they had more than one alarm. The church was really a fortress against Indian attack, and the early laws obliged each settler to provide himself with musket and rest, powder and balls. These early muskets were match-locks: flint-locks came in use later, about 1690.

      Money was reckoned in pounds, shillings and pence until after the Revolution. There was little coin - mostly Spanish - and this was worth relatively four times as much as it is now. Laws were passed providing for the prices of certain specified articles by way of barter, and contracts referred to these as "merchantable pay." None of the settlers were rich: few were in distress. It was a day of hand labor and most men learned some trade, and their deeds and wills describe them as coopers, mariners, cordwainers, weavers, carpenters, blacksmiths, farmers.

      Some Indians were indentured and some were enslaved. In 1698 James Parshall of Southold sold to John Parker "an Indian garle aged about eight years, daughter of one Dorkas an Indian woman." The price was £16. Toward the middle of the eighteenth century a few negroes were held as slaves and they were bequeathed in wills. In 1686 there were fifteen male slaves and twelve female slaves in Southold.

      The first code of laws for Southold was concisely expressed in the minutes of a town meeting held April 2, 1644, as being "the judicial laws of God as they were delivered by Moses." Each family was supposed to have a full copy in the family Bible.

      Among the early settlers of Southold were some men of education, while others signed with a mark, which was often an initial of their name. Philemon Dickerson signed with an N; William Hallock with an H; Richard Benjamin with an R. The original Jeremiah Vail signed his will with a J, and his name is spelled in the various deeds and records in various ways, according to the immediate fancy of the writer. I have noted the following spellings: Vail, Veale, Veal, Veyl, Vayle, Vale, Veil, Vaill, Valles and Vaille. Other names were in that day equally variable in their spelling. Thus Youngs appears as Yonge or Yongs; Whittier as Whiteer or Whitehair; Allen as Allyn, Allyne and Alleyne. The spelling of the ordinary words of the English language was still unfixed at that time. In the earliest editions of Shakespeare's plays the same word is spelled in two or three ways, and it should be remembered that when our ancestor appeared in America Shakespeare had been dead only twenty-three years. At the same time John Milton was thirty-one years of age and had not yet written his Paradise Lost. A variation from onr method of spelling in early writings does not argue ignorance on the part of the writer.


      JEREMIAH VAIL, b. probably in the west of England about 1618; m. 1st Catharine; m. 2d, 24 May, 1660, widow Mary Paine; m. 3d, before 1685, Joyce (Rejoice?); d. in 1687, Children:

      i ABIGAIL, baptized at First Church, Salem, Mass., 18 May, 1644; m. at Southold, L. I., Joseph Horton, son of Barnabas Horton. She was probably his second wife. About 1685 they removed to Westchester Couuty, N. Y., but returned later to Southold. . . .

      ii SARAH, baptized at Salem, Mass., 21 Mch., 1647; m. Nathaniel Moore, who was baptized in 1642, son of Thomas Moore and Martha Youngs, sister of Rev. John Youngs. Nathaniel Moore d. 10 June, 1733. . . .

      iii JEREMIAH, baptized at Salem, Mass., 30 Dec., 1649.

      iv JOHN, b. 1663; m. Grace Braddick (?); d. 18 Aug., 1737.

      v DANIEL, b. about 1665 - may have d. unmarried.

      vi MARY, b. 1667; d. at Southold 22 Sept., 1689 -was probably of this family. Her gravestone near the Presbyterian church in Southold is her only record.

      [Note by compiler: Jeremiah's daughter, Tabitha (1661 - 1735), is omitted from the above list of Jeremiah's children.]


      Jeremiah Vail
      Birth: 1618, Norwich, City of Norwich, Norfolk, England
      Death: 1687, Southold, Suffolk County, New York, USA

      He was the son of: Thomas Vail, b. Abt 1580 in England, d. 1622 in Southwold, Suffolk, England, and Elizabeth Dawsome, b. 1591 in Southwold, Suffolk, England, d. 29 Oct 1619 in Southwold, Suffolk, England.

      He married: (1) Catherine Moore, b. 1622 in Long Island City, Queens, New York, d. Mar 1659 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; (2) Mary Folger, b. 1622 in Norwich, Norfolk, England, d. 1685 in Southold, Suffolk, New York; (3) Joyce _____, b. Abt 1640 in Southold, Suffolk, New York, d. Aft 1685 in Southold, Suffolk, New York

      Family links: Spouse: Mary Folger Vaile (____ - 1689); Children: Jeremiah Vail (1649 - 1726), Sara Vail Moore (1658 - 1733), Tabitha Vail Case (1661 - 1735)

      Burial: Old Burying Ground of First Presbyterian Church, Southold, Suffolk County, New York, USA

      Created by: Dan
      Record added: Aug 14, 2014
      Find A Grave Memorial# 134332340
    Person ID I44525  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2020 

    Family 1 Catherine MOORE,   b. 1622, Long Island City, Queens County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Mar 1659, Salem, Essex County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 37 years) 
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F26166  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Mary FOLGER,   b. 1622, Norwich, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1685, Southold, Suffolk County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F26167  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Joyce (VAIL),   b. Abt 1640, Southold, Suffolk County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1685, Southold, Suffolk County, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 46 years) 
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F26168  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart