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Abel Kent Junior

Abel Kent was born about 1768 in New Ashford, Berkshire County, Massachusetts to Abel (Sr.) and Thankful Kent. Abel was born and raised in New Ashford and probably worked on the farm of his father who was an early settler of this town. Also living in New Ashford were young Abel's Aunt Deliverence (Kent) Harmon and Uncles Gideon and Nathaniel and their families were also living in New Ashford. His Uncle, Noah Kent, Jr. was living in the next town of Lanesborough. Abel married Diadema Horton of Lanesborough on 11 May 1788 in New Ashford. Abel and Diadema began their new family in New Ashford.

Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

It is unknown who decided to leave New Ashford for Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania (then part of Luzerne County) or if it was a joint decision. However, young Abel packed up his family and made the journey with his father and uncle and their families over 200 rugged miles to the new territory. The Kent families arrived in the first few years of the settlement in Nicholson (now called Herrick). The exact date is unknown, however it is probable that the family arrived in the region in 1791 since Abel Junior's son Carlton was born in New Ashford, Massachusetts in 1791 they would have arrived after his birth. The Emily Blackman book (see Book Sources) states "In 1790-92, Abel Kent and his brother Gideon, with their families; Asahel Gregory and family; Jonas and Sylvanus Campbell ; Daniel Church, and Hale (two hunters), came over the mountain, or via the Susquehanna River, into this secluded region, where they were joined in the latter year by Walter Lyon." Since we know from the Lyon Memorial book (see Book Sources) that Walter Lyon came to the area in 1792, it can be presumed the Kents arrived in 1791. All these families mentioned came to the area from New Ashford, Massachusetts (see 1790 census). The Kent families obtained property adjacent to each other, each setting up their own homesteads. This area became known as the "Kent Settlement". By 1798 a tavern was owned and operated by Abel Kent Sr. on this land. It is clear his brother John was involved with the tavern also which is why we know this was his father's tavern and not Abel Junior's.

Community and Country

Abel Kent must have had a strong sense of community. Although records are sparse, what does exist shows that he was very involved with community affairs. I will attempt to document what I have found regarding that here.

Abel's father had served in the Revolutionary War in Massachusetts when Abel was a young boy. Abel Junior also served his young country and documents show he was approved by the State of Pennsylvania for a commission of Lieutenant in the militia in the second company of the fourth regiment under Luzerne County in 1798. His name appears on a list in the Pennsylvania State Archives titled A return of Officers In The Militia of the County of Luzerne dated Wednesday July 18th, 1798. His name appears as Lieutenant Abel Kent, Jr. It is presently unknown how long he served.

In addition to his service in the militia, Abel was a founding member and treasurer of a Masonic lodge which opened in Clifford (now Herrick) on January 24, 1811. The first officers were David Taylor, Jonathan Wilber, Joseph Potter, Oliver Granger and Abel Kent. The first Methodist services were held in the "Kent Settlement".

Sometime before May of 1809, William Campbell died. William was the husband of Abel's sister Thankful. Abel and his friend Asa Dimock were appointed as Adminstrator's of his estate. On August 10, 1810 a Orphan's Court Sale of William's property was held in which the 116 acres William owned in Clifford Township was to be sold. His land was bordered by the properties of Abel Kent, and Walter Lyon. Since the Orphan's Court decreed this sale it can be presumed that Thankful and William had minor children at the time of his death.

The family of Abel Kent

Due to a lack of birth records in this area during the time and places Abel and Diadema had their children, I may be missing some children and I am missing most birth dates. I hope to be able to find more details soon.

On Saturday, January 16, 1813 Abel Kent was appointed and commissioned by the governor of Pennsylvania to be a justice of the peace for the district. Abel Kent, Jr. died exactly one month later on February 16, 1813. He was only 44 years old. No will has been found for him, however, a probate record naming his wife Diadema and his eldest son Carlton executors of his estate does exist and can be viewed here. At the time of Abel's death, he left his wife Diadema and several young children, the youngest not yet 2. I believe his son Carlton took in his mother and young siblings. According to the 1820 census, Carlton Kent had a woman over the age of 45 living in his household. Since his wife's father was still living, this probably would not have been his mother-in-law. Other children in his household match the sex and ages of his siblings. We do not know when Abel's wife Diadema died but assuming she is living with Carlton (in the 1820 census) she was still living in 1820. She was not listed in the 1830 census with her son.

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