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About the Vail Family

My Grandfather

In the 1920s and 1930’s, my grandfather, Robert B. Vail, lived and worked in a Bay Minette, a small city in the rural county of Baldwin, Alabama, around 30 miles from Mobile, Alabama.  Bay Minette became the County Seat of Baldwin County in 1900.  My father was born there in 1927.

My grandfather was a farmer and businessman during the Depression years.  He was a Newspaperman.  He also served as Postmaster of the Bay Minette Post Office.  He served as the Assistant Clerk for the Alabama State House and ran unsuccessfully for Alabama Secretary of State.

Robert Vail also served in Washington, DC as an aide to Congressman Grant of Alabama.  George Grant was a Member of Congress from 1938 until 1965.

My Father

My father was born in 1927, in Bay Minette, a small city in the rural county of Baldwin, Alabama, around 30 miles from Mobile, Alabama.  He grew up on a farm during the Depression years.  He moved with his family to Falls Church, Virginia in 1941, a few miles outside Washington, DC, when his father accepted a position in Washington with Congressmand George Grant of Alabama.

My father entered the United States Navy at the end of World War II.  He completed Basic Training and was on a ship bound for the Pacific theater when the war ended.  Technically, he is a war veteran, although he never entered a combat situation.

After returning from service in the Navy, my father went to college at the University of Maryland, completing a degree in economics, using Veteran’s benefits.  He was hired as an economist by the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation to assist with writing income tax legislation.  While working in that position, he attended George Washington University Law School at night.

My Mother

My mother was born and raised in Washington, DC.  She went to a vocational school in order to become a secretary, learning typing and shorthand.  (When I was young, she wrote all her personal reminders in shorthand).  The school she attended later became Strayer University, where I received several degrees, including a Masters’ Degree in Business Management.

Before I was born in 1958, my mother worked as a secretary for Congressman Joel Broyhill, who was representing the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, and who was serving on the House Ways and Means Committee.  This is how she met my father.  He was a staffer on the Joint Committee for Internal Revenue Taxation, which was closely affiliated with the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

From the Vail Family Archives:

Jeremiah Vail is the first Vail recorded arriving in America – around 1640.  Jeremiah is originally from Southampton, England.  His brother, Thomas Vail, followed him on a subsequent voyage, landing at Salem, Massachusetts.


In 1934, my grandfather’s older brother, Tom Vail, ran for the office of Property Appraiser in Baldwin County, Alabama.

My mother’s older brother, Lawrence Overton, was an officer in the 82nd Airborne.  He served in the Korean War, and died in the early months of the War.

82nd Airborne insignia

My father’s younger brother John, who died from leukemia the year before I was born, served on the President’s Yacht, the USS Williamsburg.

Uncle John

Grandparents with Uncle John on the USS Williamsburg

The USS Williamsburg served as the President’s Yacht from 1945 until 1953 for President’s Truman and Eisenhower.

. . .

My father’s youngest brother, Bill, was hired by the US House of Representatives to work in the House of Representatives Post Office.  He later worked for government (defense) contractors.