"What manner of man was this, who labored with words but knew mechanics, could spell all numbers, all measures, all tools correctly? And where was the tree to be felled, cut, split and the splittings edged with a drawing knife?" asks Lavaca County historian and Judge Paul Boethel in On the Headwaters of the Lavaca and the Navidad. The tree was likely a cypress cedar on the Lavaca River on the sitio of land titled to Andrew Kent 28 June 1831 which was "situated on the westerly side of the Lavaca River supposed to be twelve miles above the Atascosito Road." The league is on current Kents Creek and was surveyed by K. Barton and B. Lockhart.
1770-1829: Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri. Andrew Kent was the son of Isaac Kent, who was born about 1772 in PA, orphaned and bound by the county to an unknown family. Andrew Kents mother, who married Isaac Kent about 1790, is unknown. Andrew Kent was born 25 December 1791 near Green Mountain, MadisonCo, VA which became a part of Kentucky in 1793. The family moved west to current WarrenCo, KY (then part of LoganCo, KY) where Andrews mother died and father Isaac Kent married Lucy Hopkins on 25 December 1793. By 1800 the family was on the Green River near Columbia in AdairCo, KY and then HardinCo, KY. About 1810 the family moved to the St. Charles District of the Louisiana District of the Indiana Territory near Jacob Zumwalts Fort. [Photo left: The original log house built by Isaac Kent in 1819 is thought to be part of this structure which was still standing in WarrenCo, MO in 1971. According to Mr. Greg Costello who owns property on the old Isaac Kent Farm, the remaining above ground structure was destroyed in the early 1980's by a tornado. Picture provided by Duane Miller]
From Historic Sites of Warren County, Missouri, 1976. [Photo and information provided by Margy Miles. According to Ms. Miles, the drawing above of an original photo, possibly the Isaac Kent homeplace, was distributed as a print for a centennial celebration]
Andrew Kent had half brothers and sisters:
Pioneer Families of Missouri by Bryan and Rose says that Robert, Elizabeth, Isaac (known to have died in MO), Polly and Thomas emigrated to Oregon along the Oregon Trail while "Andrew Kent enlisted in the Mexican war, and was burned to death in one of the forts captured by the Americans." The latter obviously refers to the fate of Andrew Kent in the Alamo in 1836.
Elizabeth Zumwalt Kent (1798-abt 1844). Andrew Kent married Elizabeth Zumwalt in St. CharlesCo, MO on 30 Apr 1816. Family histories vary in respect to the parents of Elizabeth Zumwalt Kent. Some list her as the daughter of Andrew Charles Zumwalt Jr. and Margaret Baldridge and a sister of Capt. Black Adam Zumwalt. Although the relation is not proven, a large amount of circumstantial evidence based on relationship of the Kent and Jacob Zumwalt family as well as naming pattern of children and other relations supports the idea that Elizabeth Zumwalt was a daughter, possibly the youngest, of Jacob and Catherine Miller Zumwalt (see also discussion on origin of Mary Ann Zumwalt Burket). Elizabeth was born a Spanish citizen, her father Jacob Zumwalt moved with his brothers Adam, Andrew, Christopher and John from BourbonCo, KY between 1796-1798 where they became citizens of Spain and received grants of land from the Spanish government in the St. Charles District of the Louisiana District of the Indiana Territory along with Daniel Boone and other well-known Missouri pioneers. Jacob Zumwalt built one of the first permanent homes in the area north of the Missouri River which became known as Ft. Zumwalt and a center of refuge against Indian attacks. Elizabeth Zumwalt is thought to have been born in the home at Ft. Zumwalt. Jacob Zumwalt sold Ft. Zumwalt to Major Nathan Heald in 1817 and the family along with the families of Christopher Zumwalt, Andrew Kent, John William Burket (and newly married son David Burket and daughter-in-law Mary Ann Zumwalt) moved further west in the St. Charles District which later became Callaway, Warren, Howard, Montgomery and Boone counties. It is thought that here the families met Green DeWitt and James Kerr who told them of opportunities in Texas. A family story relates that Andrew Kent and children never trusted banks in Missouri or Texas because he lost money in one of Moses Austins banks which failed in Missouri.
1829-1834: Mexican Citizens on the Lower Lavaca River. Andrew and Elizabeth Kent came to the DeWitt Colony with 9 Missouri-born children: David Boyd, Sarah Clifton, Isaac K., Louisa Naomi, Bosman Clifton, Elizabeth Zumwalt, Mary Ann and Nancy Jane. His land grant title issued on 28 June 1831 states an arrival of 12 June 1830. By what route and the precise date of entry into Texas is unclear, however, it is speculated that the family may have come together with one or more of the Burket and Zumwalt families from CallawayCo, MO who arrived within the same time period. Daughter Nancy Jane born 31 October 1829 is thought to have been born in CallawayCo, MO. The Kent family apparently occupied their league of land on the eastern border of the DeWitt Colony on the west bank of the Lavaca River from the time of arrival and assignment by Green DeWitt. Neighbors were Richard Heath, George Foley and William and Henry Summers. In addition to the Heath shingle contract, the meager inventory of the Andrew Kent homestead which was salvaged after the Runaway Scrape subsequent to his death at the Alamo and descriptions by his children indicate he was probably a skilled carpenter in addition to a rancher and farmer:
Republic of Texas, Gonzales
On 12 June 1830, Andrew Kent swore allegiance to Mexico and the Catholic Church as required by Article 3 of the colonization law of the State of Coahuila y Texas, was issued title to his league of land on the lower Lavaca River on 28 June 1831 and became a Mexican citizen. He paid his $15 clerical fee to land commissioner Jose Antonio Navarro which included $5 to empresario DeWitt, $8 to surveyors Barton and Lockhart who surveyed the league on 12 Mar 1830 and $8 for official seal and copies of title. On 2 June 1835 Andrew Kent paid the first of three installments for the base price of his league which had been deferred for four years under the land policy agreement of Coahuila y Texas. His payment of $12.60 was over one third of the base price of $30 indicating he also deferred some of the land title fees, probably the $8 associated with paperwork. Family descriptions and the size of two piles of handmade bricks about 40 feet apart on the Kent homeplace suggest that Andrew Kent built a "pioneers mansion" of the period. It consisted of a double log cabin with lofts and a "dog run" between the two parts with a fireplace and chimney at each end.
Except for periodic harassment, mostly vandalism and theft, by Indian bands and legislation by the government, the Kent family lived peacefully while participating in development of the colony for the four years between arrival in 1829-30 and 1834. However, the impending consolidation of power by the central Mexican government, decreasing representation of Texas in the central government and hints of outright totalitarian dictatorship began to threaten the autonomy they had experienced under the liberal Federalist Constitution of 1824. Beyond principles of political freedom and religion, this threatened their land, their livelihood and fundamental reasons for coming to Texas and could not be ignored. Apparently the Kent family and relatives made the forty mile ride between Gonzales and the lower Lavaca River often and more frequently as troubles mounted with the central government. In and surrounding Gonzales town on their own land grants were sister and brother-in-law Mary Strain Kent and "Black" Adam Zumwalt, Elizabeth Kents brother Abraham Zumwalt (wife Phoebe Burket) and cousins, double cousins and niece represented in the David Burket and "Red" Adam Zumwalt families. No doubt the Kents being the most isolated from relatives made the effort to make the visit to Gonzales town whenever possible. While in Gonzales, records indicate that Andrew Kent traded with Joseph Martin and Horace Eggleston sometimes twice within a seven-day period. It is unclear if he was in Gonzales for the week or made the forty-mile ride twice in a week. For example, the week of December 25, 1834, he purchased a vial of toothache medicine, a square, iron hoops, a pound of tobacco and 1½ yard of ribbon. On 30 May 1835 he purchased 8 bars of lead, 2 pounds of sulfur (brimstone) and 2 pounds of salt from Horace Eggleston. In August on two trips during the month, he bought 4 saddle rings, a pair of leather stirrups, 12 gun flints, 1 ounce smelling salts (hartshorn), 2 pounds nails, coffee pot, 2 pounds tobacco, 4 bars of lead and 4 pounds gunpowder.
Next page--Texas Revolution--Battle of Gonzales--Benjamin Highsmith--Battle of Concepcion--Battle of Bexar--Alamo Relief Force--David Boyd Kent
Andrew Kent was the 4th great granduncle of the author by marriage to Elizabeth Zumwalt. A major resource for history of the Andrew Kent family was the unpublished compilations of Mr. Chester P. Wilkes, San Antonio, TX. In addition to archival documents and other written texts, the longest surviving daughter of Andrew Kent, Mary Ann Kent Byas Chambers Morris (1827-1917), was the major contemporary source of the history of the family which was proudly related orally to family members and reporters throughout her life and passed on to now multiple generations of descendants of which this website is a part. The Andrew Kent Muster is held in honor of the Kent family in even numbered years---WLM