JESSE H. KENT. - At an early day in the development of this section of the state Jesse H. Kent came to Illinois and became an important factor in the upbuilding and improvement of Sangamon county. He was a native of Ohio, born near Bainbridge, Ross county, in November, 1809, and was a representative of an old Maryland family, his grandfather being Absalom Kent, of that state. His father, William Kent, was born in Oldtown, Maryland, October 3, 1763, and became a resident of Ross county, Ohio, locating there in pioneer days. He served his country in the Revolutionary war and at his death his remains were interred in Bainbridge, Ohio. In his family were eleven sons and five daughters, the eldest being Captain Perren Kent, who was a soldier of the war of 1812. A civil engineer by profession, he made the government survey along the eastern boundary of Illinois and also in McLean and other counties of this state.
Jesse H. Kent passed his boyhood and youth in his native county and was a young man when he came to Illinois in 1836. He was first engaged in farming near Illiopolis, Sangamon county, and later removed to Springfield, where he carried on business as a contractor and builder. He also engaged in wagon-making to some extent and continued his residence in Springfield until 1874, when he removed to Missouri, locating near Savannah.
In Christian county, this state, Mr. Kent was married in 1838 to Miss Lydia A. Walker, who was born and reared in Virginia, whence she went to Bainbridge, Ohio, there becoming acquainted with Mr. Kent. Her father, Daniel Walker, brought his family to Illinois in 1835 and after residing in Christian county for a time took up his abode in Springfield. There were five children, four sons and one daughter, born to Mr. and Mrs. Kent, namely: William E., died at the age of four years. Sarah E., born June 25, 1840, is the wife of George W. Constant, of Illiopolis, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. James H. was a soldier of the Civil war, having enlisted in 1861, in Company I, Seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry for three years. He was wounded in 1864 and later discharged on account of physical disability. He married Jane Howard, now deceased, and his death occurred in 1887. Josiah P., who married Louise Rodgers, is also represented on another page of this volume. John P. died in 1853 at the age of nine years. The mother of these children passed away July 16, 1882, and the father died in Springfield September 7, 1886, honored and respected by all who knew him.