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Herman Landon Vaill papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1615

Scope and Contents

The Herman Landon Vaill Papers contain Vaill family correspondence, and diaries, other writings, and financial records of clergyman and teacher Herman Landon Vaill. Most letters are from Vaill to his wife Flora Gold Vaill, 1818-1847, with smaller concentrations of letters to Vaill from Flora Gold Vaill, 1818-1846, and from his father Benjamin Vaill, 1819-1837. Most other correspondence, 1816-1869, is between Vaill and his children, siblings, and cousins, and among members of the related Vaill, Gold, and Dudley families. Vaill’s correspondence concerns his work as a clergyman and teacher; relationships with family, colleagues, and students; and his association with the abolition, women’s rights, and temperance movements. Family correspondence includes letters about the Foreign Mission School, Cornwall, Connecticut, responses of the Vaill and Gold families to marriages of Cherokee students John Ridge and Elias Boudinot to white women, and references to the upbringing of Boudinot’s children following the deaths of their parents in 1836-1839.

Diaries, 1819-1870, contain brief entries on Vaill’s daily activities, and several series of daybooks, 1820-1870, list personal expenses, income, and accounts with creditors, with related notes. Diaries and daybooks contain occasional references to associates including Lyman Beecher, Joseph Harvey, Daniel Bourbon Brinsmade, John Brown, Mary Ann Day Brown, the Foreign Mission School, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot.

Other writings by Vaill include business records on sales of iron stoves and cookware, 1848; notes on visits to district schools in Litchfield, Connecticut, including names of teachers and school committee members, teacher salaries, and student attendance statistics, 1853-1854; and writings on theology and notes on the Bible, undated. A volume of financial records summarizes income, property, and expenses, 1825-1843, with annotations by Vaill family descendants, 1928.

The collection is accompanied by a box, or small trunk, with domed lid, hasp, and lock, probably made about 1820-1840 and likely of American manufacture. The box is covered with wallpaper, probably block printed, with a pattern containing a pedestal supporting a three-tiered fountain, a floral bouquet, and a striated arched form, suggesting a gazebo in a garden.


  • 1816 - 1928
  • Majority of material found within 1816 - 1870


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Between the Covers on the Walter Jennings Memorial Fund, 2020.


Organized into four series: I. Vaill Family Correspondence, 1816-1869. II. Writings, 1819-1870. III. Financial Records, 1820-1870. IV. Other Papers, 1820-1840.

Related Materials

Herman Landon Vaill collection (MS 519), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.


5.79 Linear Feet (10 boxes + 1 art)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Herman Landon Vaill (1794-1870) (Yale 1824 MA Hon)

Herman Landon Vaill, Congregationalist clergyman and teacher, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1794. In 1823 he married Flora Gold (1799-1883), of Cornwall, Connecticut. During the 1810s-1820s, Vaill was a teacher at schools in central Georgia and in Connecticut, including the Goshen Academy, Goshen, Connecticut; the Morris Academy, Morris, Connecticut, where his students included abolitionist John Brown, circa 1816; and the Foreign Mission School, Cornwall, Connecticut. Vaill was pastor of churches in East Haddam, East Lyme, and Torrington, Connecticut, 1820s-1830s, and in Seneca Falls, New York, 1840s. Following his retirement in the 1850s, Vaill lived in Litchfield, Connecticut, until his death in 1870.

Flora Gold Vaill (1799-1883)

Flora Gold Vaill (1799-1883) was a sister of Harriet Ruggles Gold Boudinot (1805-1836), who married Elias Boudinot (1802-1839) in 1826. Boudinot, a Cherokee political leader and editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, was a son of David Watie (1775-) and Susannah Charity Reese Watie (1784-1832) and a nephew of Major Ridge (approximately 1771-1839), political and military leaders of the Cherokee Nation. Elias Boudinot adopted the name of his benefactor Elias Stockton Boudinot, a New Jersey statesman and philanthropist. Boudinot’s cousin John Ridge (1802-1839), a son of Major Ridge, married Sarah Bird Northrup Ridge (1804-1856) in 1824.

Foreign Mission School (Cornwall, Connecticut)

The Foreign Mission School, Cornwall, Connecticut, 1817-1826, was founded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for the conversion and education of Native American men and indigenous men from other countries as Christian missionaries. Staff and supporters of the school included Herman Landon Vaill and other members of the Vaill and Gold families. Racist opposition to the marriages of Cherokee students Elias Boudinot and John Ridge to white women led to controversy over the School’s mission.

The Vaill Family and Related Families

The following are partial genealogies, showing ancestors and descendants of Herman Landon Vaill and members of related families. Lists of siblings, spouses, and children are incomplete and include only family members represented in Series I. Vaill Family Correspondence.

Vaill Family

(1) Joseph Vaill (1722-1800) m. (1744) Jerusha Peck Vaill (1727-1813)

-------(2) Joseph Vaill (1751-1838) m. (1780) Sarah Fowler Vaill (1753-1832)

--------------(3) William Fowler Vaill (1783-1865)

--------------(3) Sarah Vaill (1788-1854)

--------------(3) Joseph Vaill (1790-1869) (Yale 1811) m. (1813) Anne Kirtland Vaill (1794-1829)

--------------------(4) Edward Warren Vaill (1826-1915)

--------------(3) Amanda Vaill Evarts (1797-1883) m. (1836) David Evarts (1796-1860)

--------------------(4) Joseph Vaill Evarts (-1863)

-------(2) Urania Vaill Kent (1765-) m. Darius Kent (1758-1836)

--------------(3) Philemon Kent (1803-1869) m. Mariette Hurd Kent (1810-1851)

-------(2) Sarah Vaill (1769-1813)

-------(2) Benjamin Vaill (1772-1852) m. (1793) Sylvia Landon Vaill (1773-1813): see Landon Family; m. (1814) Jemima Vaill (-1848)

------------(3) Herman Landon Vaill (1794-1870) m. (1823) Flora Gold Vaill (1799-1883: see below

------------(3) Anna Vaill Simmons (1796-1832) m. Ira Simmons

------------(3) Almira Vaill Hall (1801-1837 July 22) m. Drew Hall

-------------------(4) Catharine Elizabeth Hall (1822-1843)

-------------------(4) Harriet Almira Hall (1827-1840)

------------(3) Charles A. M. Vaill (1803-1873) m. (1832) Cornelia Ann Griswold Vaill (1813-1841)

-------------------(4) Edward Eugene Vaill (1833-1904) m. (1847) Hannah C. Kenyon Vaill (1814-1856)

------------(3) Dianthe (or Diantha) Vaill (1807-1839)

------------(3) Benjamin Lyman Vaill (1811-1829)

----------(3) Herman Landon Vaill (1794 Dec 7-1870 Dec 28) m. (1823 Jan 22) Flora Gold Vaill (1799-1883): see Gold Family

-----------------(4) Catharine Harriet Gold Vaill (1824-1898)

-----------------(4) Charles Benjamin Vaill (1826-1881) m. (1854) Emmeline Minerva Steele Vaill

------------------------(5) Charles Herman Vaill (1856-1876)

-----------------(4) Elizabeth Sedgwick Vaill (1828-1909)

-----------------(4) Abby Everest Vaill (1829-1897)

-----------------(4) George Lyman Vaill (1831-1833)

-----------------(4) Theodore Frelinghuysen Vaill (1832-1875) m. (1868) Alice Mercy Dudley Vaill (1842-1920): see Dudley Family

-----------------------(5) Dudley Landon Vaill (1873-1967) (Yale 1896) m. (1900) Leila Strowbridge Holmes Vaill (1875-1948)

-----------------------------(6) George Dudley Vaill (1910-1986) (Yale 1935) m. (1935) Alice Dudley McOrmond Vaill (1914-1980)

----------------(4) Sarah Hopkins Vaill (1834-1862)

----------------(4) Clarissa Champlin Vaill (1836-1921)

----------------(4) Joseph Herman Vaill (1837-1915) m. (1869) Cornelia Elizabeth Smith Vaill (1845 Aug 23 - 1929 Dec 18)

-----------------------(5) Robinson Lyman Vaill (1870-1936) m. (1902) Gertrude H. Strong Vaill (1870-1918)

-----------------------(5) Theodore Bissell Vaill (1875-1828)

----------------(4) Julia Maria Vaill (1839-1912)

----------------(4) Mary Woolsey Vaill (1842-1871)

Landon Family

(1) Seth Landon (1749-1832) m. (1771) Anne Beach Landon (1754-1800)

-------(2) Sylvia Landon Vaill (1773-1813) m. Benjamin Vaill (1772-1852): see Vaill Family

-------(2) Seth Landon (1777-1843) m. (1802) Sally Catlin Landon

-------------(3) Hulda S. Landon Plumb (1806-1854) m. (1828) Frederick W. Plumb (1801-1877)

-------------(3) Anna Beach Landon Losey (1804-1880) m. John Clark Losey (1807-1873)

Gold Family

(1) Benjamin Gold (1762-1847) m. Eleanor Johnson Gold (1766-1858)

-------(2) Benjamin Franklin Gold (1792-1873)

-------(2) Mary Wakeman Gold Brinsmade (1794-1883) m. Daniel Bourbon Brinsmade (1782-1862)

-------(2) Flora Gold Vaill (1799-1883) m. (1823) Herman Landon Vaill (1794-1870): see Vaill Family

-------(2) Stephen Johnson Gold (1801-1880) m. (1826) Sarah Fay Calhoun Gold (1804-1874)

-------(2) Harriet Ruggles Gold Boudinot (1805-1836) m. (1826) Elias (Watie) Boudinot (1802-1839): see Watie/Boudinot Family

-------(2) Job Swift Gold (1810-1844) m. (1835) Catherine B. Smith Gold (1812-1884)

-------------(3) Lincoln Swift Gold (1837-1860)

-------------(3) Cornelius Boudinot Gold (1839-1821)

Dudley Family

(1) Levi Dudley (1780-1861) m. (1802) Abigail Hitchcock Dudley (1783-1851)

-------(2) George Dudley (1803-1880) m. (1831) Electa Camp Dudley (1806-1888)

------------(3) Jane Mehitable Dudley (1833-1851)

------------(3) Emily Sheldon Dudley (1838-1901)

------------(3) Mary Beach Dudley (1840-1923)

------------(3) Alice Mercy Dudley Vaill (1842-1920) m. (1868) Theodore Frelinghuysen Vaill (1832-1875): see Vaill Family

------------(3) George Dudley (1844-1882)

-------(2) Dennis Dudley (1809-1879)

Watie/Boudinot Family

(1) Oganstota (circa 1750-circa 1791) m. Susannah “Oganotota”

-------(2) Major Ridge (approximately 1771-1839) m. Susannah Catherine Ridge (-1849)

------------(3) John Ridge (1802-1839) m. (1824) Sarah Bird Northrup Ridge (1804-1856)

-------(2) David Watie (1775-) m. Susannah Charity Reese Watie (1784-1832)

------------(3) Elias Boudinot (1802-1839) m. (1826) Harriet Ruggles Gold Boudinot (1805-1836): see Gold Family

-----------------(4) Elias Cornelius Boudinot (1835-1890)


Cutter, Richard William. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1915). “Vaill,” volume 3, pages 1139-1141.
Online book (Hathitrust)

FamilySearch website. “Herman Landon Vaill” (searched 2020 October)

Find A Grave website. “Rev Herman Landon Vaill” (searched 2020 October)

Gaul, Theresa Strouth, editor. To Marry an Indian: the Marriage of Harriett Gold and Elias Boudinot in Letters, 1823-1839 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c2005)
Online book (Hathitrust)

Other Finding Aids

Accompanied by a vendor list with transcribed excerpts (in box 7).

Guide to the Herman Landon Vaill Papers
Karen Spicher
November 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

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