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Kent Family Papers

Kent Family Papers

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KENT FAMILY PAPERS, 1764-1905, 1969

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 161 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-948-6012
Creator:Kent family
Title:Kent Family Papers
Dates:1764/1905, 1969
Quantity:0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The Kent family papers document the activities of three generations of this Newbury, Massachusetts, farming family.
Collection Number:MSS 673

Series List

SERIES I. First Generation
SERIES II. Second Generation
SERIES III. Third Generation and Other

Scope and Content Note

The Kent family papers document the activities of three generations of this Newbury, Massachusetts, farming family. The collection has been arranged into three series.

Series I. First Generation contains bills, receipts, accounts, notes payable, promissory notes, and estate papers for two brothers, Stephen and Joseph Kent. Of interest is a folder of depositions which document people's attempts to testify as to which brother was the older twin.

Series II. Second Generation contains bills, receipts, legal documents, and a discharge from military service.

Series III. Third Generation and Other contains correspondence, receipts, a contract, a deed, and a share in the Byfield Scale Company. Of interest is the will of Hannah G. Kent, widow of Richard Kent (1672-1740), in which she left her son money for the purchase of her "Negro man."

Biographical Sketches

Stephen Kent was born in Newbury, Massachusetts, on May 9, 1741, the son of Richard Kent, Jr. (1715-1760) and Ann (Hale) Greenleaf (1717-1794). He was a yeoman (farmer) and married Mary Gerrish (1735-1817) in 1761. They had seven children: Richard (1762-1839); John (1764-1838); Moses (1768-1829); Stephen (1771-1853); Elizabeth (1773-1776); Jacob (1776-1829); and Elizabeth (born 1777). He died on June 29, 1827 in Newburyport.

Joseph Kent was born in Newbury, Massachusetts, on May 9, 1741, the son of Richard Kent, Jr. (1715-1760) and Ann (Hale) Greenleaf (1717-1794), and twin brother of Stephen. He was also a yeoman. He married Jane Moody (1742-1783) and they had nine children. He later had three children by Jane Dole Kent. His children included: Joseph; Paul; Amos Kent, Jr.; Nancy; Moody; and six others.

In 1647, the town of Newbury granted Richard Kent, Jr. (1715-1760) 170 acres of land on the island over Little River, subsequently known as Kent's Island. In his will, Richard gave Kent's Island to his oldest son, but no one could determine which of the twins, Stephen or Joseph, was the oldest. For several years Joseph and his twin brother, Stephen, engaged in a lawsuit as to ownership of Kent Island. Stephen, advised by his father-in-law, tried to prove himself the older, but failed. The General Court annulled the proceedings and the property was divided between Stephen, Joseph, and their brother, Moses. Because of this suit and other differences the brothers became estranged and were never reconciled. In 1799 Stephen and his family left the Island and moved into the town of Newburyport. Joseph died on July 18, 1802.

Stephen Kent, the son of Stephen and Mary Kent, was born on March 12, 1771, in Newbury, Massachusetts. In 1808 he married Sarah Noyes (1781-1853). They had two sons, John Noyes (1809-1889) and Enos Noyes (1811-1894). He died on December 19, 1852.

Jacob Kent, son of Stephen and Mary Kent, was born on April 24, 1776, in Newbury, Massachusetts. He married twice; in 1804, to Hannah Ordway and in 1812, to Mary Noyes (1780-1847). He died on February 15, 1829.

Paul Kent, son of Joseph and Jane Kent, was born on December 6, 1772. He married Alice Thurlow (1778-1835). He died on March 18, 1851, in Newburyport.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Kent, Enos Noyes, 1811-1894
Kent, Hannah G., 1693-1758
Kent, Jacob, 1776-1829
Kent, John Noyes, 1809-1889
Kent, Joseph, 1741-1802
Kent, Moses, 1768-1829
Kent, Paul, 1772-1851
Kent, Stephen, 1741-1827
Kent, Stephen, 1771-1852
Byfield Scale Company
Decedents' estates
Formulas, recipes, etc.
Promissory notes
Kent's Island (Newbury, Mass.)
Newbury (Mass.)
Newburyport (Mass.)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Kent Family Papers, MSS 673, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The provenance of this material is unknown (formerly cataloged as Fam. Mss. 517 and 518).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Thelma H. Jenney, March 1979, and Tamara Gaydos, May 2018.

Related Material

Carley, Gerry, and Gwynette Kent Dixon. Those Fluker Kents. Lincoln, NE : iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

Garvey, Monica Delzeith. "Joseph Kent." geni_family_tree,, 6 Feb. 2018,

Slaughter, John. "Newbury Births." Vital Records of Newbury, MA - Births, The Massachusetts Vital Records Project, 2015,

Account book of Stephen Kent, 1808-1841, MSS 1199

John N. Kent Diary, 1854, DIA 95

John N. Kent arithmetic exercise book, undated, MSS 399, Box 10, Folder 1

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