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Part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, Kent was settled in 1805 and was known for many years as Franklin Mills.

Settlers were attracted to the area due to its location along the Cuyahoga River as a place for water-powered mills.

The city has produced a number of notable individuals, particularly in politics, athletics, and the entertainment industry.

With the decline of the canal and the emergence of the railroad, the town became the home of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad maintenance shops through the influence of Marvin Kent.

In 1864 the town was renamed Kent in honor of and in gratitude for Marvin Kent's efforts.

As part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the area was divided into survey townships in 1798 and almost all of what is now Kent was originally part of Town 3 Range 9, which would eventually be known as Franklin Township.

Franklin Township was surveyed in 1803 and settled in November 1805 when John Haymaker and his family moved west from Warren to the banks of the Cuyahoga River.