Mary Elizabeth Kail

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Kail circa 1880

Mary Elizabeth Kail (1828 – January 28, 1890) was an American poet, and the editor of the Connotton Valley Times.


Mary was born Mary Elizabeth Harper in 1827 or 1828 in Washington, DC to Andrew Harper and Mary McDermott-Roe. His mother was the daughter of Cornelius McDermott-Roe, laborer in the employ of George Washington. Mary's father Andrew died young, possibly of malaria, while Mary and her sister Virginia Harper were children. Mary and Virginia relocated together to Carroll County, Ohio, and on May 18, 1843 Mary married Gabriel Kail (1814–1888). Mary and Gabriel had five children: Maria Bell Kail (1844–1917), Virginia Elizabeth Kail (1847–1917), Albert Kail (1856-?), Emma Kail (c1857-?), and actor Jay Wirt Kail (1861-?).[1]

By 1878, Mary was editor of the Connotton Valley Times in Carroll County, Ohio. In the late 1880s, Mary was a clerk for the United States Department of Treasury. She lost her position September 1885 due to a change in administration.

Mary died January 28, 1890 in Washington, DC or in Ohio.


  • "His Footstep at the Door" (1872) with music by Horace E. Kimball [2]
  • "The Hero of Our Wilderness" (1872) with music by Horace E. Kimball [2]
  • "Our Silver Wedding Song" (1882) [3]
  • Crown our heroes, and other poems (1887)


  1. ^ Historical collections of Ohio. 1902. And lastly for our mention is a lady, Mrs. Mary E. Kail, noted for her patriotic poems, the outgrowth of an intense and absorbing love of country. She is a native of Washington City, but from childhood has been a resident of Ohio, excepting for a few years when she was clerk in one of the departments at Washington, which position she lost recently through a change of administration. Her spirited songs have been sung and with great acceptance on many public occasions, such as Decoration Days, at meetings of the various posts of the Grand Army of the Republic, dedication of soldiers' cemeteries, lodges of Good Templars, and in the political canvass. 
  2. ^ a b The National Normal. 1872. 'The Hero of the Wilderness.' Song and Chorus. Words by Mary E. Kail. Music by Horace E. Kimball. ... 'His Footstep at the Door.' Song and Chorus. Words by Mary E. Kail. Music by Horace E. Kimball. 
  3. ^ Folio. White, Smith & Perry. 1882. p. 207. Our lives were joined together, To walk through life's mysterious paths In calm and stormy weather; O'er mountain heights and forest glade With roses blooming in the shade. Your eyes so gentle yet so bright, So blissful in their seeming. Were full of heaven's diviner light. Like meadow violets dreaming. Your lips, like cherries ripe and red ... 

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