Zenas Kent

Zenas Kent

Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, USA
Death 21 Oct 1864 (aged 78)
Kent, Portage County, Ohio, USA
Burial Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Plot Section 1 Lot 3 Grave 2
Memorial ID 103784246 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Zenas Kent was an early setter of and major landowner in Portage County, Ohio. He was a businessman and banker, and together with his son and grandson his family provided much of the historical growth of the city of Kent, Ohio and, through later generations, Kent State University.

"Zenas Kent was born in Middletown, Connecticut, July 12, 1786. His father was a carpenter and joiner by trade and fought in the Revolutionary War. Young Kent was educated in the common schools of Middletown, acquiring what was considered a good education at that time. In 1811, he was married to Pamelia Lewis of Farmington, Connecticut.

"A year later Zenas accompanied his father's family to Ohio where they settled in Mantua. As soon as Zenas secured a place for his home, he returned for his wife. They came immediately West and settled in Hudson. There Zenas met Captain Heman Oviatt with whom he entered a partnership in the summer of 1815. The firm opened a general store in Ravenna. After several years Kent was able to refund the money advanced by Oviatt and the firm was dissolved, leaving Kent in sole control of the business.

"In 1825, Kent entered into a contract to erect a courthouse in Ravenna. From 1831 to 1850 he was senior partner in the firm of Kent and Brewster which had a store in Hudson. In 1832 he joined with David Ladd in the purchase of a tract of land consisting of about 600 acres, in Franklin Mills. The tract included the waterpower of the Cuyahoga River. In 1833, Kent bought out Ladd's interest. He then erected Kent's Flouring Mill which continued in operation for many decades.

"In 1836, Zenas Kent sold his property in Franklin Mills to the Franklin Land Company which afterward became the Franklin Silk Company. When the boom started by the Silk Company crashed, Kent regained his property. In 1849, the Franklin Bank of Portage County was established and Kent became its first president. He held the office until 1864 when the Franklin Bank became the Kent National Bank, of which he also was made president. He held the position until his death.

"In 1850, he began the erection of a cotton factory on the west bank of the Cuyahoga. The venture proved a failure and the building stood unoccupied many years. In 1851, he erected a home on South River Street which he occupied until about 1860 when he moved to Cleveland. Mrs. Kent died in Kent on October 21, 1864, while in the town on a visit. Zenas Kent soon afterwards returned to Kent to live and he died here October 4, 1865. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland.

"At the time of Mr. Kent's death, nine of his children were still living. They were Mrs. Harriet Clapp, Henry A., Edward, George L., Marvin, Charles H., Mrs. Amelia L. Shively, Mrs. Frances E. Wells, and Mrs. Emily K. Dennis."

- KentOhioHistory.org

Zenas' son Marvin Kent is the namesake of the city of Kent, Ohio. Marvin's son (and Zenas' grandson) William Kent is the namesake of Kent State University.

Family Members




  • Created by: Janice
  • Added: 19 Jan 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 103784246
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Zenas Kent (12 Jul 1786–21 Oct 1864), Find a Grave Memorial no. 103784246, citing Woodland Cemetery, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Janice (contributor 47845710) .