AS RECORDED IN:
COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND
REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903 P. 504
MARSH KENT, one of Putnam’s self-made men and for years its representative
manufacturer, born March 16, 1826, at Attleboro, Mass., died at his home in
Putnam, Sept. 29, 1902. Ezra Keith
Kent, grandfather of Bela Marsh Kent, was born Sept. 26, 1767, and lived at one
time in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
Viall Kent, son of Ezra Keith, and father of Bela Marsh, was born April 19,
1801, in Seekonk, Mass. By
occupation he was a cabinet maker, and worked at his trade all his life, and was
familiar with all kinds of work in wood, including wood turning and
carpentering. After moving about
frequently in his younger days, he finally settled at Palmer, Mass., in 1837,
where he passed the remainder of his life, employed with his work, which, as he
was a natural mechanic, he enjoyed exceedingly.
Of medium stature, he was very robust of constitution and jovial in
disposition, dearly loving and appreciating a good joke.
The Jeffersonian principles appealed to him, and he was a staunch
Democrat, and although he never sought office, was honored with election as
constable for several years. While
not a church member, his convictions were in favor of all religious
denominations, and he was liberal in his gifts to them.
On Nov. 25, 1822, he married in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Dolly Howard, who
was born June 29, 1796, and who died Feb. 19, 1836, in Worcester, Mass.
The children born of this union were:
Ezra, born Sept. 2, 1823, in St. Johnsbury, Vt., became a spinner in a
cotton mill, married Maryette Townsend, and died at the age of twenty-seven
years, in Palmer, Mass. Bela M., is
mentioned later. Ellen Jane, born
Aug. 26, 1827, in Attleboro, Mass., married Keyes Bacon (now deceased), and is
living in Worcester. Allin Viall,
born Dec. 14, 1830, in Smithfield, R.I., is now living in Newark, N.J., engaged
in wood-turning; he married Maria Stone. Harriet
Maria, born July 4, 1833, in Northbridge, Mass., died unmarried, at the old
homestead in Newark, N.J., at the age of forty-three.
A daughter, born Feb. 19, 1836, in Worcester, Mass., died the next day,
and was buried in the same grave with her mother.
On Nov. 24, 1836, Thomas Viall Kent married, in Ware, Mass., Hepsibah R.
Barnes, born Nov. 15, 1810; she died in the spring of 1872, in Palmer, Mass.
To this union came the following family:
Dolly Howard, born Aug. 24, 1837, in Palmer, Mass., never married, but is
now residing in Worcester, Mass.; and Julia Ann, born July 21, 1844, in Stafford
Springs, Conn., died in Palmer, unmarried at the age of forty years.
Marsh Kent was born March 16, 1826, and when he was but seven years of age, his
parents removed from Attleboro, to Northbridge, Mass., where he attended the
district schools, finishing his education with one term at the North Wilbraham
Academy, and leaving school at the age of nineteen years.
From the age of seven he worked in the cotton mill when he was not at
school, the entire time devoted to the latter scarcely amounting to two years,
and after he decided that his school life was ended, he entered the cotton mill
at Thorndyke (town of Palmer) learning the carding trade, and he remained there
until 1851. When twenty-five hears
of age, he embarked in butchering for six months, then removed to Windsor,
Conn., and went to work in a sash and blind factory, owned by his brother Allin
Viall Kent, and there remained for another six months.
His next location was at Thompsonville, Conn., where he worked in a sash
and blind factory for Elliott Hamilton, for three years.
At the expiration of this time, believing he could better himself, Mr.
Kent located at Hampton (then South Wilbraham), Mass., and for three additional
years worked in the employ of Marcus Beebe, in a plow factory, making wooden
plows by hand for the southern trade. Inducements
being held out to him by William Johnson, at Westfield, Mass., Mr. Kent next
entered his employ and worked in his organ factory at that place for several
months, but not liking the business, went to Somers. Conn., establishing a sash
and blind factory and also engaged in farming, remaining in this locality for
one year. After this experience, he
removed to East Longmeadow, Mass., and worked in the Springfield Armory on gun
barrels, in what is known as the “water shops,” where he remained about
three years, during the greater part of the war, leaving in 1865 to go to
Warren, Mass., where he was employed working on tape looms, and when, at the
expiration of one year, the business was removed to Worcester, Mass., he went
with the firm, and remained there two and one-half years.
His next change was to Webster, Mass., and at that place he was in the
employ of Charles Palmer in his sash and blind factory, but after three years he
located in Putnam, in May, 1872, purchasing the woodturning business of Horatio
Reed, on the Quinebaug river, a very small plant at that time.
Subsequently he made many improvements and enlarged his fields of
operation until he occupied the entire building and gave employment to from ten
to twelve men. His output included
sash, blinds and all kinds of builders’ finishings.
So thoroughly understanding every detail of this line of work, and having
a natural inclination for it, he was enabled to take advantage of every
opportunity offered and was very successful.
In January, 1900, however, he felt that he had discharged his duty, and
sold his business to his sons. Who continue it upon the old lines, the same
policy of strict honesty, uprightness of dealing and excellence of workmanship
being followed out by the new firm. Mr.
Kent was a consistent member of the Advent Christian Church of Putnam, of which
he served as deacon for over twenty years, and also as treasurer, and of which
Mrs. Kent is also a member. When
occasion demanded, Mr. Kent cast his vote for the candidates of the Republican
party, but his business so fully absorbed his time and attention that he never
took an active part in politics. All
his sympathies were in accordance with temperance principles and his life
testified to his sincerity.
Sept. 20, 1849, Mr. Kent was married (first) to Adelia D. Bliss, born Sept. 24,
1826, a native of Monson, Mass., daughter of Austin and Eunice (Pease) Bliss,
who died June 5, 1869, in Webster, Mass. The
children were as follows: Ella
Minerva, Clarence Marsh, Nellie Jane, Ernest Bliss, Cora Adelia.
Minerva Kent was born July 11, 1850, in Palmer, Mass., and died in Enfield,
Conn., Sept. 4, 1854.
Marsh Kent was born Dec. 5, 1856, in Enfield, Conn., and received his education
in Worcester and Webster, Mass., attending the common schools.
His parents removing to Putnam in 1872, he finished his school days in
the Gary district, Putnam, leaving school at the age of nineteen years.
Having employed his spare time working with his father, while still
attending school, Clarence entered into the business after finishing his
education, and together with his brother, Ernest B., purchased the plant, Jan.
1, 1900. The religious home of Mr.
Clarence M. Kent is the Methodist Episcopal Church.
While his sympathies are with the Republican party, whose candidates he
always supports, he has never sought office, or allowed his name to be mentioned
for nomination. On Feb. 6, 1879,
Clarence M. Kent was married to Ida Dewing Pettis, daughter of George A. and
Harriet Newell (Hall) Pettis, of Putnam, and to this union have come the
following family: Clifford Ray, born
April 5, 1881, died Oct. 2, 1890; Earl
Bliss, born July 6, 1882, is at home; Edith
May, born March 6, 1883, is attending school at the Willimantic Normal;
Mabel Dewing was born Feb. 15, 1886;
Harold Ray, born June 9, 1890. Mr.
Kent is a very estimable young man, and one who both as a business man and in
social life has won the respect and esteem of a host of friends and
Jane Kent was born Nov. 21, 1858, in Wilbraham, Mass., and is a graduate of the
Putnam High School, and is now teaching school in the high school at Clinton,
Bliss Kent, the fourth child of Bela M. Kent, was born July 31, 1861, in Somers,
Conn., and was educated in the Gary District, Putnam, Conn., where his parents
moved when he was eleven years of age, and also the Putnam High School,
completing his education when about eighteen.
At that time he entered his father’s shop, where he has since remained,
becoming one of the proprietors in January, 1900.
His brother Clarence is his partner, and the two young men are succeeding
wonderfully in their work, sustaining the reputation of the house, and gaining
for it additional honor and business. Like
his father, Ernest Kent attends the Advent Church of Putnam, and takes part in
its work. He is a Republican and has
served most acceptably as alderman one term, representing the second ward in the
city board of alderman, serving during 1898-99.
On May 18, 1887, Ernest B. Kent married Fannie Louise Bugbee, daughter of
Edwin O. Sumner and Frances Agatha (Thurber) Bugbee, of Putnam, Conn.,
and the following family has come of this union:
Ethel Bliss, born April 5, 1888, in Putnam, attending the Putnam High
School, in the class of 1905; Carl
Thurber, born Nov. 8, 1889, in Putnam, Conn., attending the Fifth District
School. On March 5, 1896, Ernest B.
Kent finished his fine pressed brick residence on Seward street, which is one of
the pleasant homes in Putnam, and there he and his charming wife dispense a
Adelia Kent, fifth child of Bela M. Kent, was born Feb. 14, 1866, in Warren,
Mass., and married March 10, 1885, Edward E. Sanderson, of Pomfret, Conn.
Their children are Mildred and Kent M.
Oct. 18, 1871, Bela M. Kent was married (second) to Almeda (Coman) Buck, widow
of Barney Buck, and daughter of John G. and Diana (Tyler) Coman, of Thompson,
Conn. No children were born of the
in life Mr. Kent had a hard struggle to overcome adverse circumstances, and at
times he seemed almost vanquished, but through it all he displayed a sturdy
uprightness of purpose and independence of spirit, which in the end conquered.
During all those years of hardships and discouragements, he never gave
up, but persevered in his work, trying numerous lines of business, and after he
succeeded in securing his factory in Putnam, keeping hard at work to make
something out of it. Such persistent
effort must succeed in the end, when it is backed up with real ability and
intelligence, and Mr. Kent had the satisfaction of looking back to his earlier
days with pride in that he conquered adverse fate, and not only accumulated an
excellent competency for himself, but also provided a fine business for his
sons, young men of high character, well worthy of their father.
The life of such a man points an excellent example to the coming
generations, in that it proves what can be accomplished by a man, if he never
forgets to maintain a high standard of honorable dealing and never flinches from
his work, no matter how hard and discouraging it may be.
In 1875, Mr. Kent built his very comfortable home, located about one mile
from the centre of Putnam, and here he enjoyed the well-earned rest which comes
after a life of toil, discouragements and successes, happy in the love of his
devoted wife and children, in all of whom he took an honest pride.
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