nd that’s something to Clapp about…the new digs for Kent Historical Society was originally the home of Charles K. Clapp. It was built for him in 1883, during the time his uncle’s stately “Homestead” (today’s Masonic Lodge) was being erected. Evidence indicates that some of the same craftsmen hand-carved the woodwork in both homes.
But how did Clapp come to reside in Kent, and what’s his connection to Marvin Kent?
Zenas Kent (Marvin’s father) ventured West from Connecticut to Hudson, Ohio and later to Ravenna. His eldest daughter Harriet was age three when they arrived. Zenas became a very successful merchant, engineer and builder…a real mover-and-shaker…so he could afford to send Harriet to the best schools of her day. After her formal education Harriet returns to Ravenna from upstate New York, and she marries Charles Clapp, a successful downtown merchant. They begin to raise a family.
In 1839 Charles embarked in a business in Franklin Township (now Kent), with his brother-in-law Charles H. Kent and Harvey B. Spelman. The partnership didn’t work out, so the stock was divided and Clapp and Spelman started a new enterprise on the corner of Howard and Market in downtown Akron, Ohio.
At the time the P&O Canal made downtown Akron the place to make a buck. Businesses flourished and Akron was born…churches sprang up on every corner. One of those churches is where Mr Clapp became enamored with the new Shaker faith, to the point to pull up stakes and start a Shaker community in Warren County, Ohio.
Harriet decided to take the children and move to Brooklyn, New York, where they lived with her brother Henry A. Kent. Henry, along with brother Edward Kent, ran a successful wholesale grocery house…Kent & Company. At the time Henry was one of the major land owners of the Old Brooklyn Farm Lands – some of New York’s finest. Harriet’s son Charles K. Clapp attended Leicester Academy in Massachusetts for two years, then at age 16 became a clerk for his uncles’ company, eventually becoming a partner.
Charles K. begins a new business venture and moves to Minnesota, and his Mother Harriet moves to New York City to live with her daughter Ella Southwick. That was in 1868. Harriet remained living in the Big Apple for the next 20+ years. Meanwhile, Charles K. relocates to Kent, Ohio in the fall of 1877 and takes over as cashier at his uncle Marvin’s bank. A position he held until his retirement in 1885.
Two years before retirement Mr. Clapp moves into his new house (now Kent Historical Society). With the exception of Mr. W. H. C. Parkhill, East Main Street was only woods on the north side.
Harriet was a true city girl, traveling to Kent only occasionally, to visit sons Charles K. and George, or her sister Mrs. J. W. Shively. It was on one of those visits that Harriet caught a simple cold – that quickly developed into pneumonia. And in less than two weeks she died of her illness at her son’s home. Reverand E. B. Chase conducted the services at the Charles K. residence and the remains were deposited in the vault at Standing Rock Cemetery, were they were kept until word could be heard from her daughter Mrs. Ella Southwick, who at the time was traveling Europe with her husband and family.
Quaint and Quirky Facts:
- Mrs. Parkhill was the daughter of Frances Kent Wells and granddaughter of Zenas Kent.
- Mr. Parkhill also worked at Marvin’s bank, as a clerk.
- Harriet’s sister Frances also passed away up on the same hill, at the Parkhill’s home.
||Harriet Kent is born in Oneida County, NY.|
|1815||Harriet moves with her family to Ravenna, OH.|
|1831||Harriet marries Charles Clapp of Ravenna.|
|1838||Their son, Charles K. Clapp is born in Ravenna.|
|1839||Clapp, Spelman & Kent starts in Franklin Mills.|
|1841||Clapp and Spelman form partnership in Akron.|
|1846||Charles Clapp moves to Warren and forms the Union Village Community. Harriet moves in with brother Henry A. Kent in Brooklyn, NY.|
|1854||Charles K. Clapp goes to work as a clerk for Kent & Company, eventually becoming a partner.|
|1868||Charles K. moves to Minnesota.|
|1872||Charles K. marries.|
|1877||Charles K. Clapp moves to Kent, Ohio.|
|1878||Clapp becomes cashier, Kent National Bank.|
|1883||Clapp moves into 237 East main Street.|
|1887||Harriet rides train to Kent to be with her son Charles K., who was seriously ill (mid Nov).|
|1888||Harriet dies from pneumonia at her son‘s home on January 4th at 9 a.m.|