Are you interested in the history of Kent? Do you have some questions? How can we help you learn more about our community?
Here are brief answers to some commonly asked questions. We have many other resources for research at the Historical Society. The Kent Historical Society receives questions by email, phone and in letters. If you have a question, go to this page and send it to us. We will try to answer it and may post it, with your permission, on this website.
The answers to the questions have been gleaned from Karl Grismer's, History of Kent. This fascinating history book is available from the Kent Historical Society and can be obtained by coming to the Society's book store or can be purchased online from our Shopping Cart. The questions in blue are linked to an expanded history.
The village of Franklin Mills now had a canal over which boats plied to and fro between Pittsburgh on the East and Akron and Cleveland on the West. The canal was completed late in March, 1840, and on April 3, the first boat from Beaver, en route to Akron, passed through the upper lock, floated down the river, and was locked out into the canal again at the dam. Thereafter, the sight of the heavily loaded boats, pulled by slow-moving mules, became a common event. Boats arrived and departed daily. Most of the canal men stopped at the cuyahoga house and Woodard’s Tavern,
Who was the first person arrested in Kent?The first marshal elected in Kent was Ed Keller and the first arrest after the incorporation of the village was made by Marshal Keller on the night of August 15, 1867. The victim was named Peter Mulcahy, arrested for disorderly conduct, having imbibed too freely of "spirits", and assaulted a family living in his house, causing screams that were anything but pleasant to the neighbors.” Mulcahy was fined $5 and costs and, lacking the money to pay his fine, he was sent to the county jail to ponder over his fate.
When was and where was Kent's first library?Kent’s present public library had its beginning on September 29, 1875, when a number of employees of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad and other interested citizens met in a room on the second floor of the railroad station and organized the Atlantic and Great Western Railway Reading Room Association. The movement was sponsored by J. H. Devereau, president of the railroad. Officers elected were P. D. Cooper, president; A. L. Dunbar, vice-president, and George E. Hinds, secretary treasurer. Kent members of the board of directors were: S. V. Smith, C. H. Mead, Dr. A. M. Sherman, John Newham, J. A. Felt, and G. S. Howden. L. B. Allen, T. A. Phillips and M. V. Green represented Galion and M. Clancy, C. Latimer and H. C. Chamberlain represented Meadville. Applications for membership in the association had to be approved by the directors. The annual dues were $1 and a member was allowed to draw one book at a time, to be kept not longer than three weeks. The reading room association flourished for some time but interest in it finally waned. From 1884 until 1892 the books were locked up in a room at the station. At that time there was no law which enabled a town with less than 5,000 inhabitants to tax itself for library purposes. However, through the efforts of Scott Williams and George E. Hinds such a law was finally passed by the Ohio State Legislature, and Kent became the first town which obtained a library as a result. The village council passed an ordinance to establish a public library to be known as the Kent Free Library and Reading Room and to maintain the library, a tax of one mill was approved. Mayor O. S. Rockwell appointed the following trustees: Scott Williams, I. L. Herriff, George E. Hinds, C. Frank Harrison, N. B. Rynard, and Milton Kneifel.
Who was Franklin Mills (Kent) first postmaster?On December 28, 1820, President James Monroe appointed George B. DePeyster to be the first Postmaster of Franklin Mills. He kept his mail matter in a cigar box and 25 cents was the usual fee for carrying a letter a moderate distance. Many letters were sent “Postage Collect” and many times Postmaster DePeyster had to hold mail for weeks, until the addressee could raise enough money to pay the Postage.
From: History of Portage County
In 1864 out of gratitude for Marvin Kent's influence in having the booming Atlantic and Great Western Railroad shops located in Franklin Mills, that citizens effected a change in the village's name to Kent. It wasn't until 1867 that the Ohio legislature approved the change. To learn more of the Kent families contributions to our city come visit us and do some research in our library research room.