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Joseph Kent

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Title: Joseph Kent  
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Subject: United States congressional delegations from Maryland, United States House of Representatives elections, 1824, 25th United States Congress, John Eager Howard, United States House of Representatives elections, 1814
Collection: 1779 Births, 1837 Deaths, American People of English Descent, American Planters, Democratic-Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Democratic-Republican Party State Governors of the United States, Fendall Family, Governors of Maryland, Maryland Democratic-Republicans, Maryland Federalists, Maryland National Republicans, Maryland Whigs, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland, National Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, National Republican Party United States Senators, People from Calvert County, Maryland, United States Presidential Electors, 1816, United States Senators from Maryland, Whig Party United States Senators
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Joseph Kent

Joseph Kent
United States Senator
from Maryland
In office
March 4, 1833 – November 24, 1837
Preceded by Samuel Smith
Succeeded by William D. Merrick
19th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 9, 1826 – January 15, 1829
Preceded by Samuel Stevens, Jr.
Succeeded by Daniel Martin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1815
Preceded by Archibald Van Horne
Succeeded by John Carlyle Herbert
In office
March 4, 1819 – January 6, 1826
Preceded by John Carlyle Herbert
Succeeded by John Crompton Weems
Personal details
Born (1779-01-14)January 14, 1779
Calvert County, Maryland
Died November 24, 1837(1837-11-24) (aged 58)
Bladensburg, Maryland
Political party Whig

Joseph Kent (January 14, 1779 – November 24, 1837), a Whig, was a United States Senator from Maryland, serving from 1833 until his death in 1837. He also served in the House of Representatives, serving the second district of Maryland from 1811–1815 and again from 1819–1826, and as the 19th Governor of Maryland from 1826-1829.


  • Early life and career 1
  • First Marriage 2
  • Farming, Medicine, and Military 3
  • Politics 4
  • Governor of Maryland 5
  • Second Marriage 6
  • United States Senate and later life 7

Early life and career

Born on January 14, 1779 in Calvert County, Maryland. He was the son of Daniel Kent, Sr. (1754–1805) and Anne Weems Wheeler (1761–1823). Joseph Kent received a liberal schooling at Lower Marlboro Academy, and studied medicine. He was admitted to medical practice in Lower Marlborough, Calvert County in 1799 with a Doctor Parran, but ceased relations with Parran after a political disagreement in 1801.

First Marriage

Joseph married first, Eleanor Lee Contee Wallace (1782–1826) on October 30, 1804. Eleanor was born December 9, 1782 in Thomas Pratt, another Governor of Maryland and U.S. Senator.

Farming, Medicine, and Military

Kent purchased a 300-acre (1.2 km2) estate named "Rosemount" near Bladensburg, Maryland, and settled there around 1807. "Rosemount" is part of the large estate, "Park Hall", owned by the Gantt family in 1735, about which time it was divided and sold. Joseph gave the name "Rosemount". He was passionately fond of roses and the old terraced garden was kept profusely planted with lilies and roses, justifying his choice of the new name he had given his home.

He continued the practice of medicine and also engaged in farming on his estate. In 1807, Dr. Kent removed to the vicinity of Bladensburg and entered the Maryland State Militia as a Surgeon's mate, in the 34th Regiment of the Maryland Militia. In 1809 he was made a full surgeon, but resigned. In the militia, Kent received the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel, and finally as a Colonel of the Cavalry of the 2nd Maryland Militia Cavalry.

Joseph presided at the first public meeting in Washington for the organization of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, in which he became a director.


Turning to politics, Joseph was elected to the United States Congress in 1810 taking his seat on March 4, 1811 and served several years until March 3, 1815. Though a Federalist, opposing War with Great Britain, he voted with the Republican party in declaring War. He was a Presidential Elector in 1816, casting his vote for James Monroe (1758–1831). He later broke with the Federalist party and by the time of the next election he was a Democratic-Republican, in which he was elected to another term in the House of Representatives from March 4, 1819 until he resigned on January 6, 1826. In his second tenure in Congress, Kent continued as chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia.

Governor of Maryland

Joseph was elected Governor of Maryland in 1826. The primary goal of Kent's administration as governor was to work toward internal improvements. He was in support of improving internal transportation, including expanding the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The immense cost of these projects, however, were never fully repudiated until several decades after Kent's administration, and placed the state under immense financial burden for many years aftwards.

Other areas of interest for Kent included prison reform, separating presidential voting into districts, and for increased funding for schools and colleges. He also sought to improve the maintenance of the state's records, "so indispensably necessary to its correct history" as he said.

Second Marriage

Joseph married Alice Lee Contee (1803–1868) on July 8, 1828 at "Bromont", near Newburg, Charles Co., Maryland. Alice was born at "Bromont", near Newburg, Charles Co., Maryland. She died August 24, 1868. Alice was the a first cousin of Joseph's first wife, Eleanor Lee Contee Wallace (1782–1826). Alice was the daughter of Capt. Benjamin Contee, Rev., Hon. (1755–1815) and Sarah Russell Lee (1766–1810).

United States Senate and later life

Kent was elected as a Republican (later Whig) to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1833,

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