An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Vail, Thomas Hubbard

(Oct. 21, 1812-Oct. 6, 1889). Bishop and ecumenist. He was born in Richmond, Virginia. Vail graduated from Washington (now Trinity) College in 1831 and from the General Theological Seminary in 1835. He was ordained deacon on June 29, 1835, and priest on Jan. 6, 1837. While a deacon he officiated at St. James' Church, Philadelphia, and then served as an assistant at St. Paul's church, Boston. While in Boston he organized All Saints' Church, Worcester, Massachusetts. From 1837 until 1839, Vail was rector of Christ Church, Cambridge, and he was rector of St. John's Church, Essex, Connecticut, from 1839 until 1844. In 1844 he moved to Westerly, Rhode Island, where he was rector of Christ Church. In 1857 he returned to Massachusetts, where he was rector of St. Thomas' Church, Taunton. In 1863 Vail moved to Muscatine, Iowa, where he was rector of Trinity Church. On Dec. 15, 1864, he was consecrated the first Bishop of Kansas. The Episcopal Female Seminary of Topeka had been established in 1861, and in 1872 Vail obtained a new charter which changed the name to the College of the Sisters of Bethany. In 1841 he published The Comprehensive Church; or, Christian Unity and Ecclesiastical Union in the Protestant Episcopal Church, which anticipated the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Vail died in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.