Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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VAIL, Stephen Montford, clergyman, born in Union Dale, Westchester County, New York, 10 January, 1818; died in Jersey City, New Jersey, 26 November, 1880. He was graduated at Bowdoin in 1838, and at Union theological seminary in 1842, having in the mean time been licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal church, and founded the first church of that denomination in Brunswick, Maine lie became professor of languages in Amenia seminary in 1843, was subsequently pastor in Fishkill, New York, Sharon, Connecticut, and Pine Plains, New York, and in 1847-'9 was president of the New Jersey conference seminary at Pennington. While occupying that post he induced the trustees of the institution to admit women as pupils, and he was tried before the ecclesiastical court of his church for advocating in his writings the cause of an educated ministry. He became professor of Oriental languages in the General biblical institute of the M. E. church at Concord, New Hampshire, in 1849, and held that chair until failing health required his resignation. In 1869 he became United States consul for Rhenish Bavaria, travelled extensively in the East and Egypt, and on his return settled in Southfield, Staten island, New York He wrote for the Methodist press, and was professor of Hebrew in the Chautauqua school of languages. Genesee college, Lima, New York, gave him the degree of D. D. in 1856. Dr. Vail was an active member of the Republican party, and an early Abolitionist. Previous to the civil war he sustained a long and able controversy with Bishop John H. Hopkins on the subject of human slavery, the bishop being an earnest advocate of that institution. Dr. Vail published essays on slavery and church polity, "Outlines of Hebrew Grammar," and other educational hand-books, and "Memoir and Remains of Reverend Zenas Caldwell" (Boston, 1824)" "Education in the Methodist Episcopal Church" (1853)" and " The Bible against Slavery" (Concord, N. II., 1864).
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