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Abel Kent Senior

The life of Abel Kent (Senior) began on 26 September 1742 in Suffield, Connecticut. He was born to Noah and Deliverance (Granger) Kent. The year 1755 was a very bad year for the family. Deliverance Kent was pregnant with her eleventh child when on 15 May 1755, her 41 year old husband, Noah Kent died. On the first of December 1755 Deliverance gave birth to her daughter whom she named Deliverance. Deliverance Granger Kent died on Christmas day a few weeks after the birth of her daughter. At the time of her death, her oldest children were Phebe who was 20 and Noah who was 18. Abel Kent was just 11 years old when his parents died. It is unknown what happened to the 11 Kent children at this time, however, it is possible they remained together in the house for a time with their 20 year old sister Phoebe as their guardian. In July, 1761 Phoebe married Medad Pomeroy Jr. Evidently Phoebe was already pregnant when she married Medad because on January 6, 1762 she gave birth to a son named Phebus. Like her mother before her, she only survived the birth of her son a few weeks and died on 25 January 1762. Before the end of the same year, Abel and his brothers Gideon and Noah left Suffield for a new settlement, Lanesborough currently located in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. It is unknown if the 11 year old Nathaniel was with them, however, if he was not, he would join them soon after.

Life In Lanesborough

The first evidence we have of the Kent brothers in Lanesborough can be found on a deed dated October 4, 1762. On this deed we can see the brothers Noah, Gideon and Abel purchased 50 acres on lot 34 from Samuel Martin. The town was a new settlement at this time and still called New Framingham. On a deed dated June 2, 1764 this same lot was deeded to Noah alone. By that date Noah had married Lois Warren so it is possible this lot became his home for his new family. Noah and Lois would have 11 children together.

In November of 1765, an incident took place in Lanesborough that involved the whole town and brothers Noah and Abel were very involved in it. They were so involved that it resulted in their arrest. You can read more about this on this page. By the day the records of New Ashford began in 1775 Abel's name was in those records.

Family Of Abel

It is unknown when or where Abel married his wife Thankful. The surname of Thankful is unknown. The records bear no mention of their marriage. It is certain however, that Abel and Thankful lived in Lanesborough prior to moving to nearby New Ashford. There are no town records of the birth of their children either. Since Abel and Thankful's son Abel was born about 1768, we can assume they were married at least by that year. Their children are listed below. All the children listed are verified by mention in his will filed in Pennsylvania. Based on census records Abel and Thankful had at least 1 more daughter not mentioned in his will. I assume she died before her father.

About Abel's Children

Abel Jr. married Diadema Horton in New Ashford and Thankful married William Campbell in New Ashford. Carlton married Lucinda Starkweather in 1811 and moved to Indiana sometime before 1820. Elisha appears in the 1800 census with a wife and 4 children. It is unknown (by me) what happened to the other daughters Sally Mehitable and Mary or sons Samuel and John.

The records of New Ashford show Abigail Kent born about 1782 married Henry Dewey in 1797. Abigail died at age 17 on 1 March 1799. Her parents names were not given in the records, however, since the only Kent families in New Ashford at this time were Noah, Gideon, Abel and Nathaniel, she was clearly the daughter of one of them. Since Noah's children are all documented in the records, we know Abigail was not his daughter. At the time of her marriage none of the Kent's had left New Ashford yet. The records also state Henry Dewey married Mary Harmon on 30 October 1799 (after Abigail's death). It is unknown if this is the same Henry Dewey married to Abigail. Mary Harmon was the daughter of Gaius Harmon and Deliverance Kent Harmon, Abel's youngest sister. A study of the 1790 and 1800 censuses shows Abel and Thankful probably had another daughter not mentioned in his will. It is possible this daughter was Abigail who married Henry Dewey in New Ashford in 1797 and died in 1799. Her date of birth would make her about 2 years younger than Abel Jr. Since no records exist on the town level in New Ashford for the births of the Kent children, we may never know.

Life In New Ashford

The New Ashford records began on June 7, 1775. The first town record mentions the first town meeting occurred on June 7, 1775 and was moderated by Capt. Gideon Kent. The second town meeting on September 4 1775 noted that future meetings would be held at the dwelling house of Abel Kent and at Ensign Fulford's shop. Nathaniel Kent was quite influential in the town and would hold the position of constable there. As you look through the record pages of the town, Nathanial Kent is mentioned on almost every page. The town records show Abel's service to the town included town groundskeeper and town treasurer.

In 1775 Noah Kent was still living in Lanesbough. Abel, Gideon and Nathaniel were all in New Ashford in 1775. This was the year the Revolutionary War began and all 4 brothers participated. The only proof I found of all 4 Kent brothers serving in the American Revolutionary War was provided in the book titled Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War. Since none of the Kent brothers lived long enough to file for a pension, no pension files exist for them. There is some detail of their service in the book though. The entry for Abel Kent states "Kent, Abel.Private, Capt. Amariah Babbit's co., Col. Benjamin Simonds's regt. enlisted Aug. 14, 1777; discharged Aug. 19, 1777 service, 6 days; company marched from New Ashford to Meloomscuyck near Bennington; also, same co. and regt. service, 5 days; company marched Oct. 1, 1780. on an alarm at the Northward; also, Lieut. Dudley Holdridge's detachment from Capt. Amariah Babbitt's co., Col. Symonds's regt. service, 3 days. on an alarm in Oct., 1780 roll endorsed "for Service Oct'r 21 1780." . During the time of his service, Abel was married with young children.

After the Revolutionary War Abel Kent participated in Shays Rebellion and was arrested for that participation. In 1783 Abel and Gideon owned a tavern in New Ashford. The final record we have of Abel in New Ashford is the 1790 Federal Census. On this census Abel Kent Sr. is shown as the head of his household. His household consisted of, 1 person identified as being a male over the age of 16, 3 males under the age of 16 and 3 females for a total of 7 people. One of the three females would have been Thankful his wife and 2 of his other daughters. Of the 3 males under 16, Carlton was one, but since we are not sure of the ages of his other sons, Elisha, Samuel and John, the identities of the other 2 boys is unknown. Abel Kent lived in New Ashford from 1775 until 1791, almost 20 years. Why he chose to leave New Ashford is unknown. Abel Kent was one of the first settlers in a remote area of Bradford County, Pennsylvania now part of Susquehanna County. Nathaniel Kent remained in New Ashford until his death in 1810. He was the only one of the Kent brothers to remain there, however, their sister Deliverance (Kent) Harmon would also remain there until her death in 1814.

Abel: The Final Years »

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