Edward Vail (1717-1777)

Born August 6, 1717(whereabouts unknown), Edward Vail later resided in Edenton, North Carolina, and is most known for his support of American independence.  . . . .

In 1768, Vail served on North Carolina’s Committee of Correspondence to Great Britain.  One of the committee’s duties was appointing a representative to London.  So on December 12, 1768, Vail and the Committee asked Henry McCulloch, a London merchant and Mecklenburg County absentee landowner, to be North Carolina’s “Agent to represent them in Great Briton.”  In particular, commissioner Vail expressed American colonists growing frustrations with Crown rule; the injustices and “impositions” they endured were “unconstitutional and distructive[sic] of the Natural Rights and Privalidges[sic] of Mankind.”

After accepting a commission of colonel in the State Militia, Vail assisted Royal Governor William Tryon in putting down the 1771 Regulator Rebellion.  Similar to many North Carolinians who had supported Tryon, Vail eventually became an ardent revolutionist.  Along with John Harvey, John Ashe, Cornelius Harnett, Robert Howe, William Hooper, Richard Caswell, Samuel Johnston, and Joseph Hewes, Vail was appointed in December 1773 to North Carolina’s Committee of Correspondence.  The Committee purposed to “obtain the most early and authentic intelligence of all such Acts and resolutions of the British Parliament,” that affected the colonies and to report its findings to other colonies.  On June 24, 1774, Vail and the eight remaining members of the Committee agreed that a representative from each colony should “meet on July 26th, to which time . . . we shall endeavor in some other manner to collect the representative of the people.”  Thus, one of the first steps toward American unification and independence took place.

When the Revolutionary War began, Vail helped establish militia companies throughout North Carolina and served as Brigadier General for the Edenton District.  On June 5, 1777, two months before his sixtieth birthday, Vail died.  According to his last will and testament, written on November 29, 1775, Vail owned two plantations and at least fifteen slaves.

Source for the above Excerpts.

North Carolina history.org, an online Encyclopaedia, North Carolina Project, “Edward Vail”, http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/100/entry/  by Richard Carney, North Carolina History Project.  For full reference to the article, click the hyperlink for Richard Carney above.


After Josiah Quincy Jr. met with Cornelius Harnett and others in March of 1773 on the need for Committees of Correspondence, Edward Vail, Cornelius Harnett, along with seven others identified in the article above, were appointed to a nine-person Committee of Correspondence for North Carolina. The work of this committee led to the creation of the Provincial Congress in North Carolina and with other colonies led to the creation of the Continental Congress.  [For more on the above, see introduction to the article “Provincial Congress” under the menu item “Organizations”].

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