Stephen Vail was a native of New Jersey, and came to Middletown in 1800. Two of his sons and a daughter arrived in Ohio the year before, and settled in Warren County, near Waynesville, temporarily. They were Shobal, Aaron, and Mary Russell, the wife of George Russell. In September 1799, Shobal Vail married Miss Mary Bonnell, daughter of parents who were also from New Jersey, and were among the earliest settlers of Warren County. Many of the descendants of the Bonnell family are yet there. Shobal Vail Clevenger, the distinguished sculptor, was of that family. He received his name Shobal Vail in honor of his uncle by marriage. Stephen Vail, with the remainder of his family, came, as stated above, in 1800. The children who accompanied him were Moses, Lydia, Randall, Hugh, Sarah, and Katharina. Soon after he came he purchased a large tract of land lying on both sides of the Miami River, and commenced the erection of mills, consisting of a grist-mill, a filling-mill, and a saw-mill. The filling-mill was rebuilt the next year.
Mr. Vail built his first cabin near the river, not far from where F. Kemp & Co.'s slaughter-house is now. He lived there but a short time, when he built another cabin on the table-land, west of and about one hundred and fifty yards from Edward Jones present residence, and near what is now the corner of Young and Fourth Streets. This was, doubtless, the first cabin built in Middletown. In this cabin Mr. Vail died in 1808. His son Moses and Lydia settled in Warren County, and built a mill near Franklin previous to 1824. He died many years ago, and left children; but they are scattered, and it is not known where they are. The descendants of the other members of this family settled in Middletown and vicinity.
From A History and Biographical Cyclopædia of Butler County Ohio, With Illustrations and Sketches of its Representative Men and Pioneers, Western Biographical Publishing Company, Cincinnati Ohio, 1882.