Talk:Kent County, Michigan

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Naming of Kent County[edit]

In regards to some discussion at Talk:Toledo War (permalink), the point was made that Kent County was named for Chancellor James Kent, who is said to have represented Michigan in some capacity during the dispute over the Toledo Strip. It was suggested that the county was named for Kent to honor his contributions in that dispute. But I found that the county was created and named in 1831 [1][2], which was some four or five years before the dispute reached the height of intensity. Of course, various issues related to the dispute had been contested for many years, so it is possible that he had been employed at some point prior to the height of the conflict. But not finding any information ready at hand in the relevant articles and the references identified in the James Kent article did not describe any connection with the Toledo Strip dispute. I started to try and learn more about this connection.

I found some interesting and conflicting details, some of which appears to be clearly mistaken. The 1881 History of Kent County, Michigan states the county was named in honor of Chancellor Kent, a New York lawyer, who died 19 years previous to the organization of the this county (p. 284) which would place his death at about 1817 (James Kent died in 1847). Similarly the 1918 Grand Rapids and Kent County, Michigan explicitly indicates that he died in 1817 (p. 64). However, the 1924 Historic Michigan, land of the Great Lakes, is clearer in describing Chancellor James Kent role (p. 469). There it appears the county was named for the jurist because of his notability as a preeminent jurist and legal thinker and that he was afterwards employed by Michigan in the Toledo Strip dispute.

In any case, if anyone has any more descriptive information about precisely why the county was named for James Kent and what his role was in the Toledo War, please let me know. olderwiser 18:34, 31 December 2007 (UTC)