George Vail came from a family that worked in the iron processing industry and near Morristown ran a ironworks. Later the family was operating inter alia in the field of telegraphy, and transportation. The company also worked with Samuel Morse. George Theodore Newton Vail Vail's Cousin (1845-1920) was the first President of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company.
Vail first attended preparatory schools and then the Morristown Academy. He then introduced the telegraph instruments for the service. At the same time he began a political career as a member of the Democratic Party. In 1843 and 1844 he was a deputy in the New Jersey General Assembly. In 1851, he represented the state of New Jersey at the World Exhibition in London. In 1850 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress yet. In the congressional elections of 1852 Vail then in the fourth electoral district of New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington DC was chosen, where he became the successor of George Houston Brown on March 4, 1853. After a re-election he was able to complete in Congress until March 3, 1857 two legislative sessions. These were shaped by the events leading up to the Civil War.
In 1858, Vail was appointed by President James Buchanan to the American Consul in Glasgow ( Scotland). A post he held until 10 August 1861. Upon his return to Morristown Jersey, he dealt with literary matters. He was also a member of the parole board of his state. From 1865 to 1871 he was a judge on the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals. George Vail died on 23 May 1875 in his hometown of Morristown, where he was also buried.