William Berrian Vail

William Berrian Vail, PC (December 19, 1823 – April 10, 1904) was a Canadian businessman and politician.

The Hon.

William Berrian Vail
William Berrian Vail.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Digby
In office
Preceded byEdwin Randolph Oakes
Succeeded byJohn Chipman Wade
In office
Preceded byJohn Chipman Wade
Succeeded byJohn Campbell
Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for Digby County
In office
Personal details
Born(1823-12-19)December 19, 1823
Sussex Vale, Colony of New Brunswick
DiedApril 10, 1904(1904-04-10) (aged 80)
Dover, England
Political partyLiberal
Other political
Nova Scotia Liberal Party
RelationsEdwin Arnold Vail, brother
Provincial Secretary (1867-1874)
Minister of Militia and Defence (1874-1878)

Vail was born in Sussex Vale, New Brunswick, the son of John Cougle Vail and Charlotte Hannah Arnold. In 1850, he married Charlotte Leslie Jones. He represented Digby County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1867 to 1874. He served in the province's Executive Council as provincial secretary. In 1874, he was elected to the 3rd Canadian Parliament as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Digby. From 1874 to 1878, he was the Minister of Militia and Defence under Alexander Mackenzie. He resigned because of a conflict of interest in the 1877 but returned to parliament in 1882 where he served as an opposition MP until he lost his seat once again in the 1887 general election. He died in Dover, England.

His brother Edwin Arnold Vail served in the New Brunswick assembly.


  • William Berrian Vail – Parliament of Canada biography
  • "William Berrian Vail". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.