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Kent family


Biographical Note

Gordon Cloyd commanded the 19th Brigade of the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812; he was later promoted to Major-General and thereafter was known as General Cloyd. He later served as a land surveyor for the Montgomery County area, and together with his brothers, purchased a tract of land along the New River know as Buchanan's Bottom. Gen. Gordon Cloyd and Elizabeth McGavock Cloyd together had six children, only two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth Cloyd survived. The two sisters married two brothers, James Randal and David Fenton Kent. David and James were the sons of Joseph Kent and Margaret McGavock Kent. Gordon Cloyd left the Buchanan's Bottom land to his daughter, Mary, and her husband, James Randal Kent. Elizabeth Kent and David Fenton Kent received the land at Back Creek and the house known as Springfield.

David Fenton Kent and Elizabeth Cloyd were married on January 2, 1834. Together they had seven children: Gordon Cloyd, born December 7, 1834, died November 11, 1837; an unnamed son, April 23, 1836 who lived eight days; Mary Elizabeth, born May 17, 1837, died December 14, 1837; James Randal, born August 15, 1838, died September 4, 1861; Sarah McGavock, born November 5, 1839, died March 9, 1891; Joseph Gordon, born March 22, 1841, died July 15, 1886; David Fenton, born May 17, 1844, died October 18, 1878. David F. Kent lived at the Springfield property and ran businesses with a Thomas Miller. He was reputed to have been an entertaining storyteller. David Fenton Kent died on January 28, 1850. Elizabeth Cloyd Kent outlived him by nineteen years, dying February 7, 1869.

James Randal Kent and Mary Cloyd Kent moved to Buchanan's Bottom and lived at first in the old Trigg house. Later, they built Kentland mansion, which stands to this day. Together James and Mary had five daughters, Elizabeth Cloyd, born 1819, Sarah James, born 1822, Mary Louisa, born 1824, Cynthia, born 1827, and Margaret Gordon, born 1840. James Randal Kent was a prominent landowner and successful farmer. He also held several minor public offices including Sheriff of Montgomery County from 1822 to 1823, he also served as a Justice and a land surveyor. Throughout the 1830s and 1840s, James Randal Kent bought up land, he owned around 8000 acres in 1860. In 1855, construction began on a resort at Montgomery White Sulphur Springs, a hotel that later served as a hospital during the Civil War. In 1860, James Randal Kent became a founder of the Preston and Olin Institute, a Methodist school in Blacksburg that was the predecessor to present day Virginia Tech. He was among the wealthiest men in Montgomery County with an estimated wealth of $196,000. Kent was a staunch supporter of the Confederacy, he owned more than 100 slaves at the start of the war. He served as an organizer for the Confederate Army, as well as a supplier of foodstuffs, providing grain and beef to the Confederate Army all the way up to the day Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Though Kentland survived the war, many barns and out-buildings were burned, including the plantation office with the majority of James Kent's personal papers, and in 1867 his land was valued at 41% less than it had been in 1860. James Randal Kent died on May 29, 1867.

Sarah James Kent, daughter of James Randal Kent, married Francis Bell, a cattle buyer from Staunton, in 1855. Together Sarah and Francis had four surviving children: twin sons, James Randal Kent Bell and Samuel Hays Bell in 1858, a daughter, Mary Louisa Bell in 1861, and Francis Frank Bell in 1864. They built a home on the land in Pulaski given to Sarah by her father. They lived at Mountain Home until the mid-1870s, when in 1872 Francis Bell purchased land from the Darsts and the Cloyds, their new home, Rockwood, was built c. 1876.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Elizabeth Kent Adams Papers

Identifier: Ms-1990-045
Abstract The collection contains the papers of Elizabeth Kent Adams (1908-1994), resident of Radford, Virginia and local historian. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, genealogical charts, essays, and other materials related to the history of Southwest Virginia and of her ancestral lines, especially the Cloyd, Kent, McGavock and Putnam families. Includes photocopy of the handwritten autobiography of A. W. Putnam, photocopies of James Randal Kent's will and inventory of debts, and photocopies and...
Dates: 1922 - 1987

Bell, Kent, Cloyd, Withrow Family Collection

Identifier: Ms-2008-040
Abstract The Bell, Kent, Cloyd, Withrow Family Collection contains the personal papers and financial records of members of four prominent families. Included are members of the Bell, Kent, Cloyd, and Withrow families, as well as, materials from related families and acquaintances. This is a diverse collection containing materials dating from 1780 to 1998. Items of interest include several Land Deeds and Warrant from the late 18th Century, including one signed by Benjamin Harrison, then Governor of...
Dates: 1780 - 1998

Black, Kent, and Apperson Family Papers

Identifier: Ms-1974-003

This collection contains the papers and artifacts of an interrelated family prominent in Blacksburg's history. It includes the Civil War letters of Confederate surgeon Dr. Harvey Black, the Civil War diary of hospital steward John S. Apperson, cotton books and correspondence of Germanicus Kent, nineteenth-century account books of a Blacksburg general store, 1912 European travel diary, and the political scrapbooks of State Senator and Attorney General Harvey B. Apperson.

Dates: 1779 - 1984

James Randal Kent Papers

Identifier: Ms-1987-031

James Randal Kent was a wealthy land owner and enslaver in Montgomery and Pulaski counties, Virginia. The collection includes court records, correspondence, titheables to the Sheriffs of Montgomery and Pulaski counties, photographs, court summons, a letter, and other notes concerning Kent's property (Kentland), his business affairs, and estate.

Dates: 1825 - 1887