Speakers of the Legislative Assembly

Hon. E.A. Vail, MD

Edwin Arnold Vail was born August 19, 1817, at Sussex Vale, Kings County, New Brunswick, of Colonial English and Loyalist ancestry, the son of John Cougle Vail and his first wife, Charlotte Hannah Arnold.

Educated at the Sussex grammar school, he studied medicine at the Royal Medical College, Edinburgh, Scotland, and at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He graduated in 1837 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

He located at Sussex where he established his medical practice.

On July 25, 1842, he married Miss Frances Charlotte Cougle. By this marriage there was a family of two sons and two daughters. She died December 2, 1862, aged 38 years. In 1873 he married Miss Harriet Courtland Murphy. By this marriage there was a family of two daughters.

He was first elected to the House of Assembly of New Brunswick as one of the members for Kings County at the general election of May 8, 1857. Re-elected at the general elections of June 15, 1861 and March 14, 1865, he sat as a member until the dissolution of the Legislature in 1866. On April 27, 1865, he was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly.

At the general election of June 12, 1866, he opposed the Confederation issue and was defeated. He was also defeated at a by-election held October 19, 1867, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the sitting member, George Ryan.

Re-elected at the general election of July 2, 1870, he sat as a member until dissolution in 1874. On February 16, 1871, he was again elected Speaker. Defeated at the general election of June 20, 1874, he was again elected at the general elections of June 22, 1878 and June 1882. In March 1883 he was appointed to the Executive Council.

On April l, 1885, he was called to a seat in the Legislative Council of New Brunswick and sat as a member in that body until his death a few months later.

He died July 31, 1885, at his residence in Sussex.

Source - Speakers of the Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, 1786-1985. 1985, Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, Office of the Clerk, Fredericton, N.B.