Rev.  Eliphalet  Kent
          Among the early pioneers of Shelbyville were the  Rev. E. Kent  and his wife, who came here in October, 1829. Shelbyville was then a small village, having been recently incorporated, of perhaps two hundred inhabitants, with the court-house in the center of the public square, the jail on the corner of Broadway and Harrison streets, which was afterwards removed to the rear of the court-house, on the square.  A few straggling houses on the square, a few on Washington, Harrison, Franklin and Broadway, comprised the boundaries of the village.  For a few years the court-house was used by the various denominations in common on the Sabbath for public worship.
          Reverend Kent came under the auspices of the American Board of Missions to the then Far West, uniting soon afterwards with the Indianapolis Presbytery.  He was of Puritan ancestry, the first of the Kents landing at Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1634.
          The grandfather, Deacon Cephas Kent, was among the first settlers in the new territory afterwards called Vermont, and as a consequence lived in troublous times.  He was an active and zealous patriot in the cause of the colonists and independence.  Of his six sons, four fought with Stark in the battle of Bennington, and it was at his house that the first General Convention met, September 25, 1776, to declare that district a free and independent state;  he was its first Representative in the State Legislature.  His son, Cephas Kent, was in the Revolutionary war and was aide on Montgomery's staff in the Canadian war.
          His son, E.[Eliphalet] Kent, was born in Dorset, Vermont, March 17, 1800.  He graduated at Williams College, Massachusetts, with the class of 1826, took a theological course at Auburn Seminary, New York, and graduated with the class of 1829.  He was married the same year to  Fannie Capron, of Tinmouth, Vermont, who was also descended from Revolutionary parents.  With all the ardor of early youth she left the comforts of a New England home with its hallowed associations to share toil and discomforts of a pioneer life.  She was a graduate of Middlebury Academy, Vermont.  Soon after their arrival in this place she opened a private school in a one-story brick building on Franklin street, Shelbyville, Indiana, which stood on the lot now occupied by the public school building No. 1.

Eliphalet Kent
Picture from Chadwick's book
          Reverend Kent at the close of his fifth year received a call to the Presbyterian church at Greenwood, Johnson county, where he remained as its pastor four years, his wife again assuming her duties as teacher.  At his request he was dismissed from that charge, returning to Shelbyville, having been called with his wife to take charge of the County Seminary.  At these places his ministry was both acceptable and successful.  The County Seminary then stood not far from where the present high school now is, pupils and teachers having to wade through deep mud in the spring to reach the building.
          With but little interruption his wife continued her duties as teacher during her short married life until February 2, 1844, when she was called by the Master to a higher life.
          From that little brick building and seminary many of our influential citizens of those early days received that intellectual and moral training which fitted them for the various stations of usefulness and trust to which they were afterwards called.
          Among those early pioneers, some of whose descendants are yet with us, were the  Hendricks  family, the  Walkers, the  Teals, the  Gaskells, the  Mayhews, the  Morrises, the  Montgomerys, the  Peasleys, the  Morrisons, the  Shanks, the  Toners, the  Flemings  and many others.
          To Mr. Kent and wife were born three children:  Frances M.,  George E. and  Edward P.  After the death of his first wife Mr. Kent married  Mrs. Fannie Morris, widow of Dr. Morris, also one of the pioneers of Shelbyville, whose consistent and upright life is a rich legacy left as an inheritance to his children.  The second Mrs. Kent's death, in 1848, left two little children motherless:  Joseph H.  and  Lydia D.  Mr. Kent again married in 1849  Matilda West, a native of Massachusetts, who died in August, 1870.
          Frances M., his eldest daughter, born in Shelbyville, September 4, 1830, was married to  J. Marshall Elliott  September 16, 1847.  Mr. Elliott was a most honorable, honest, upright business man of sterling moral character, and an uncompromising Christian.  Elected one of the officers of the Methodist Episcopal church, he continued in an official position up to the time of his translation.  A teacher in the Sabbath school for over fourteen years of a class of thirty-five to forty scholars he had few equals as an instructor in the vital truths of God's Word, and toward the close of life he spoke of this as a delightful source of inspiration and instruction.  He took a deep interest in the young men of the city; this feeling found expression when in 1876 he built the large two-story brick building on North Harrison street, known now as the Y.M.C.A. building, where he fitted the upper rooms for reception, reading and prayer-meeting rooms.  He was deeply sorry that the organization was not sustained and perpetuated.
          He contributed liberally of his means to all the enterprises and benevolences of his church until transferred to the church triumphant, on March 13, 1888.
          George E. Kent  was born in Shelbyville September 4, 1836, married to  Hattie Hill  March 28, 1866, who died in 1873, leaving one son, Frank, born May 1871.  George E. married for his second wife  Mrs. Nettie Harter Kent, widow of his half-brother, Joseph Kent.  To them were born four children:  Helen, born October 12, 1883, and died in 1898;  Laura, born June 23, 1886, and is now a student at Oxford, Ohio.  Two children died in infancy.
          Mrs. Nettie Kent  died November 28, 1894.  George Kent is a strict member of the Presbyterian church, and has filled the office of elder for a number of years.  Since retiring from the grain and milling business he, in connection with his son, Frank, is now carrying on an extensive stock and grazing farm; he is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, having served a short time in the Civil war.
          Edward P. Kent  was born in Greenwood, Johnson county, June 12, 1838, married  Annie Montgomery  June 16, 1859.  To them were born four children:  Walter,  Fannie,  Edward  and  Lydia. Walter was born in Shelbyville June 15, 1860;  Fannie, born April 15, 1862;  Edward, born September 5, 1864, and  Lydia, born in Sedalia, Missouri, January 21, 1867.  Edward P. died in Shelbyville, June 24, 1890.  A brave soldier, he served his country well during the civil war, belonging to the Thirteenth Indiana Cavalry.  During his last sickness he suffered greatly from partial paralysis, but was very patient through all his sickness to the end, and died trusting not to his own merits, but to the mercy of an all-wise and loving Father.  His son, Walter, was married to  May Clark  in 1884, in Fort Scott, Kansas.  He is now engaged in merchandising at Denver, Colorado.  His daughter, Fannie, was married in Shelbyville to  Professor Seiler  of the Normal School at Terre Haute, Indiana, June, 1881.  He was an excellent musician and the leader of the choir for a number of years in the Presbyterian church, at Terre Haute, a quality inherited by his children to a marked extent.  He died in Terre Haute in 1898, leaving a widow and two children, Helen  and  Mary.  Helen died in Shelbyville in 1899.  Mary is now a student at Fairmount Seminary, Washington, D.C.
          Edward  was married in 1907 to  Cleo Leiter, of Sedalia, Missouri.  Lydia, fourth child of Edward P. and Annie, was married at Sedalia, Missouri, September, 1891, to  Major George Burr, of the Ordinance Department.  They are now stationed at Manila, Philippine Islands.
          Joseph H., a son of Reverend Kent and second wife, was born in Shelbyville, February 4, 1846.  He graduated from Wabash College in 1868, and studied Theology at Lane Seminary.  He was married to  Nettie Harter, of Crawfordsville, Indiana, September 8, 1870, spent two years in study and travel of Europe, and was ordained in 1872; became pastor of the Presbyterian church of Cambridge City and died July 4, 1876.  In the all-wide dispensation of Providence his life of usefulness was cut short and much of promise is unfilled.  His character was singularly pure, and his piety deep and ardent.  He left one daughter, Annie H., born in Cambridge, Indiana, too young to know a father's love, but so cherished by a second father's protecting care, she has known no want of sympathy and affection, and is now the comfort of her father's household.
          Lydia D., daughter of the second wife of Reverend Kent, was born in Shelbyville, December 19, 1847; was married to  Warren K. Snider  March 10, 1870.  This loving son and daughter during the remaining years of the father's life devoted themselves to his comfort, watching over him in his declining years with loving care until translated to his heavenly home.
          Rev. E. Kent was ever a prominent advocate of the cause of religion, and of everything which would promote the cause of Christ a life-long and ardent friend of temperance and an early advocate. Long before it was popular to be an Abolitionist he voted and worked to that end. He lived to see the abolishment of slavery throughout the ends of the whole land, with peace and prosperity again smiling on its reunited people.
          He saw the country change from the primeval forests to a land blossoming with cultivated fields and orchards and public schools and numerous churches dotting all parts of the country, instead of the old stage-coach and canal-boat of former years, a net-work of railroads and telegraph wires covering the land. 
          He died March 6, 1893, having lived to the ripe old age of ninety-three, having seen his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren down to the third generation.  He was followed to the grave by a numerous concourse, among whom were many of the descendants of those he had known and loved in an earlier day.
          Two of his sons having been in the Civil war thus perpetuated the history of their Revolutionary sires.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Chadwick 1909, pages 384-387
Contributed by Barb Huff  for John Christensen

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            Rev. Eliphalet Kent, a superanuated worker in Christ's vineyard, was born in Dorset, Vt., March 17, 1800, the son of  Cephas and  Lydia (Sheldon) Kent, who were both natives of Suffield, Conn., from whence they removed to, and were among the early settlers of Vermont.  The immediate subject of our sketch acquired a collegiate education at Williams College, Massachusetts, graduating from that institution in 1825.  He obtained his theological education at Auburn Seminary in New York.  In 1829, he was licensed to preach by the Berkshire (Mass.) Association and ordained shortly afterward by the Rutland (Vt.) Association.   The same year he came to Shelbyville, and took charge of the Presbyterian Church, his field for the first year consisting of

G. E. Kent

   Bartholomew and Shelby Counties.  In 1835, he was called from Shelbyville, to the church at Greenwood, where he continued five years.  He was first married to  Miss Fannie Capron,  August, 1829, at Tinmouth, Vt., who came with, and assisted, him in his ministerial labors, and for a time she managed the Seminary at Shelbyville.  Her children are:  Frances, now  Mrs. J. Marshall Elliott,  George E. and  Edward.  Father Kent was married a second time to  Fannie Henderson, daughter [other biographies state "widow"] of the late  Dr. Sylvan Morris, September 19, 1844.  To that union these children were born,  Joseph H. and Lydia D. (Mrs. Warren Snyder).  Joseph H. Kent was born February 4, 1846, graduated at Wabash College in 1868, studying theology at Lane Seminary.  He was married to  Nettie C. Harter, of Crawfordsville, in 1870, spent two years in study and travel in Europe.  He was ordained in 1872, and became pastor of the Presbyterian Church, at Cambridge City, and died July 4, 1876.   His career was brief, but his character was singularly deep and his piety was extraordinarily profound.  Father Kent's third marriage was with  Matilda West  on September 20, 1849.  Rev. Kent has always taken decided positions on every great question of religion, temperance and politics, and was among the first Abolitionists of this community.  In old age he retains remarkable vigor and very few pass through life with so few enemies and so many warm devoted friends.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, "Addison [Township] Sketches", page 594-595, Brant & Fuller, Chicago, 1887.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming
Picture from Boetcker's  Picturesque Shelbyville, 1909.

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Rev.  Eliphalet  Kent,
Addison Township.

          Father Kent was born in Dorset, Vt., March 17, 1800; he graduated at Williams College, Massachusetts, in 1825; he pursued his theological course at Auburn Seminary; was licensed to preach by the Berkshire (Massachusetts) Association, in 1829, and was ordained shortly afterward by the Rutland (Vermont) Association.  He came to Shelbyville, and took charge of the Presbyterian Church in 1829; his field for the first year consisted of Bartholomew and Shelby Cos.; in 1835, he was called from Shelbyville to the church at Greenwood, where he continued five years; in both places, his ministry was acceptable and successful.  He was first married to Miss Fannie Capron, August, 1829, at Tinmouth, Vt., who is mentioned in the general history of Shelby Co., in a previous part of this work, as a woman of extraordinary tact, intelligence and piety.  Her children are  Frances (Mrs. J. Marshall Elliott), George E. and  Edward.  Father Kent was married a second time to  Fanny Henderson,  widow of the late  Dr. Sylvan Morris,  Sept. 19, 1844; her children were Joseph H.  and  Lydia D. (Mrs. Warren Snyder).  Joseph H. Kent was born Feb. 4, 1846; he graduated at Wabash College, in 1868, and studied theology at Lane Seminary.  He was married to Miss Nettie C. Harter, of Crawfordsville, in 1870; spent two years in study and travel in Europe; he was ordained in 1872; and became Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Cambridge City, and died July 4, 1876.  His career was brief, but his character was singularly deep, and his piety was extraordinarily profound.  Father Kent was again married, Sept. 20, 1849, to Miss Matilda West.  As will be seen by reference to the County History, he has been the leading educator here.  He has always taken decided positions on every great question of religion, temperance and politics; he was among the first Abolitionists of this community; in old age, he retains remarkable vigor, and very few pass through life with so few enemies and so many warm, devoted friends.
Atlas of Shelby Co., Indiana, Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co, 1880, pg 35.

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