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Kent, New York

Kent is located in north-central Putnam County. It is known for it’s scenic area, historic landmarks, and close community. Establish in 1795, the town has become a great community for families, with a population of about 14,000.

The town was first settled by Europeans in the mid-18th century by Zachariah Merritt and others, from New England, Westchester County, or the Fishkill area. Elisha Cole and his wife Hannah Smalley built Coles Mills in 1748, having moved to that location the previous year from Cape Cod. Coles Mill operated until 1888 when it was submerged under West Branch Reservoir. Around this same time the northeastern part of the county was settled by the Kent, Townsend, and Ludington families, among others. The father of Hannah Smalley and his family moved to Kent about two years before Elisha Cole and his family.

Kent was a part of the Frederickstown Precinct which was chartered in 1772, the rest of Frederickstown consisting of the future town of Carmel and the western parts of the future towns of Patterson and Southeast. Other early family names were Townsend, Smalley, Kent, Dykeman, Barrett, Cole, Boyd, Wixon, Farrington, Burton, Carter, and Ludington.

Much of early Kent’s economy was based on dairy farming for the New York City market, but with many reservoirs being constructed in the late 19th century for drinking water for the same city, most of the farms were submerged, and the dairy industry was all but abandoned by the 1920s. At that point, and because of the advent of the automobile, Kent started to attract new residents from the city.