A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reverend Robert James Kent, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Matawan (1883 - 1888)

Robert James Kent, aka R J Kent, was born 28 December 1855 in New York City. He graduated from Williams College in 1877, then Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1880. He was ordained that year in the Presbytery of New Brunswick (NJ) and became pastor of Kirkpatrick Memorial Church in Ringoes, NJ.

Rev Kent married Mary Emma Tracy on 6 July 1881. They lost a daughter Agnes Louise in infancy. There was a son, Robert, and a daughter.

Rev Kent moved to the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan in 1883 and served there until 1888.

Rev Kent left the denomination and joined the Congregational church. He became the pastor of the Lewis Avenue Church at the corner of Lewis Avenue and Madison Street in Brooklyn, NY.  The church grew under his care from a small congregation to one of the leading Congregational churches in the area.

"He achieved fame in the 1890s as leader in the crusade against political corruption of the John Y McKane ring," according to the 12 Aug 1941 edition of The Brooklyn Eagle. The New York Times interviewed half a dozen Brooklyn ministers in a November 1893 article, each of whom referenced an assault against Rev Kent while battling McKane and his Gravesend machine. He received a Doctor of Divinity from Williams College in 1895, awarded in recognition of his civic service to Brooklyn, primarily for the work he did against McKane.

Kent established the Church in the Gardens in Forest Hills, Queens in 1913 and served there eight years. His last pastorate was at the Congregational Church at Orient. He retired to his home in Southold, NY, on the north shore of Long Island, in 1926. He died at his home on 12 August 1941.


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