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.Part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, Kent was settled in 1805 and was known for many years as Franklin Mills.
A lock and attached arch dam, however, was completed in 1836.
In the era leading up to the American Civil War, Franklin Mills was an active stop on the Underground Railroad, giving fugitive slaves shelter on their escape to Canada.
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The region was originally inhabited by various tribes of American Indians, including the early Mound Builders.
Around 1780, Captain Samuel Brady achieved notoriety for his activities in the area, including his famous leap of 21 feet (6 m) over the Cuyahoga River to avoid capture by an unknown band of American Indians.
Historically a manufacturing center, education is the city's largest economic sector with Kent State University the city's, and one of the region's, largest employers.
The Kent City School District and the Kent Free Library provide additional education opportunities and resources.
They were joined by John's brother George and their father Jacob Haymaker and their families early the next year, and built a gristmill in 1807.