Welcome to Kent
Kent is located in north-central Putnam County. It is a beautiful area, full of woods, ponds, lakes, mountains and wildlife.
The land that would one day become Kent was first settled by Native Americans approximately 10,000-12,000 years ago. It became the home of the Nochpeem, a member tribe of the Wappinger Confederacy, of the Algonquin Nation.
European settlement began in the 1600’s. 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, well over 200,000 acres
As European settlement increased, the local Wappingers began to fight to retain their land. Their last sachem, Chief Daniel Nimham, became the leader of the tribe in 1752 and spent the decades before the Revolution suing the Philipse family for return of the land. His unsuccessful struggle saw him travel to London to present his case to the King. When the Revolution broke out, the Wappingers under Nimham joined the Patriot cause. Nimham, his son and sixty braves all perished at the Battle of Kingsbridge in 1778.
During the Revolution, most of Kent's tenant farmers served in the 7th Regiment of Dutchess County under Colonel Henry Ludington. Ludington, an aide and friend of General Washington, with his wife Abigail, ran a 229-acre farm and built a gristmill in the area of Kent now known as Ludingtonville. Here they raised twelve children. On April 26, 1777, word was received that the British were attacking Danbury. Sybil Ludington, their daughter who was just 16, rode horseback all night in the rain to alert her father's troops. After the War, Colonel Ludington served in the County Legislature.
Following 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. In addition to cattle farming, mining and charcoal manufacturing became 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.
The beginning of the 20th century saw the decline of farming, but the rise of Kent as a vacation destination. The construction of the Taconic Parkway in the early 1930s greatly facilitated access to Kent for people from the New York City area. Drawn by its natural beauty, people from the city and beyond came here and established seasonal communities, camps and clubs. The construction of I-84 and I-684 in the 1970s opened the area up for the first time 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.