Welcome to Kent
The Town of Kent is a beautiful area in Putnam County with woods, ponds, lakes, mountains and wildlife.
Kent was first settled by Native Americans approximately 12,000 years ago. It was the home of the Nochpeem tribe, part of the Wappinger Confederacy, of the Algonquin Nation.
European settlement began in the 1600s. In 1687 two Dutch fur traders, Jan Roelof Sybrandt and Lambert Dorlandt, purchased the western one-third of what would become Putnam County which included Kent. They sold this land to Adolph Philipse, who was granted a royal patent on June 7, 1687 for land that reached from the Hudson River to the Connecticut border.
As European settlement increased, the local Wappingers fought to retain their land. Their last sachem, Chief Daniel Nimham sued the Philipse family for return of the land. He traveled to London to present his case, unsuccessfully, to the King. The Wappingers under Nimham joined the Patriot cause in the Revolution. Nimham, his son and sixty braves all perished at the Battle of Kingsbridge in 1778.
Most of Kent's tenant farmers served in the 7th Regiment of Dutchess County under Colonel Henry Ludington during the Revolution. Ludington, an aide and friend of General Washington, and his wife Abigail, raised 12 children, ran a 229-acre farm and built a gristmill in the area of Kent now known as Ludingtonville. On April 26, 1777, word was received that the British were attacking Danbury. Sybil Ludington, their 16 year old daughter, rode horseback all night in the rain to alert her father's troops. After the War, Colonel Ludington served in the County Legislature.
After the Revolution, most of Kent was confiscated from the Philipse heirs and many tenant farmers were able to purchase the land they had been farming. Cattle farming, mining and charcoal manufacturing were important industries until the early 1900s.
The Town of Kent was part of Frederickstown, which was established March 7, 1788. Kent became a separate town in 1795, known as Fredericks. Originally part of Dutchess County, Kent became part of Putnam County in 1812. On April 15,1817 the name was changed to Kent to honor a local family, whose most famous member was Chancellor James Kent, Columbia University's first professor of law and author of the standard legal reference of its day, Commentaries on American Law.
Farming began to decline in the early 1900s and Kent then became a vacation destination. Construction of the Taconic Parkway in the early 1930s made it easier for people from the New York City area to come to Kent. Drawn by its natural beauty, people came and established seasonal communities, camps and clubs. The construction of I-84 and I-684 in the 1970s opened Kent up to large residential development.
Today, Kent retains its rural character with its natural beauty and scenic charm. Almost half of its 43 square miles is open space, accessible to the public for a wide variety of recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, and hunting.