Jebediah "Jeb" Kent was born in the early 1800s , the second son of Silas and Abigail Kent of Boston, Massachusetts. In 1854, he traveled west with his father and brother Nathaniel to settle in the town of Lawrence, Kansas. As a family of known abolitionists, the Kents encountered a great deal of resistance while traveling the hotly debated Kansas territory. Their greatest trouble came from a pro-slavery Missourian named Luther Reid. In the winter of 1855, Jeb's father Silas had been shot in the back, presumably by Reid's cronies. Jeb openly accused Luther of murdering his father and threatened to get revenge. [1] Luther Reid was a close ally of Sheriff Sam Jones and told Jones of Jeb's threat against his life. Luther and Sam went to the Kent homestead and arrested Jeb Kent with the intent of hanging him. Fortunately for him, older brother Nate arrived just in time and warded Luther's men away with a rifle.

As tensions between the free-state and slave-state proponents mounted, Jeb Kent offered his services to help fight back against the Missouri border ruffians. Nate was wary of his little brother's attitude however, and realized that Jeb had little regard for the political complexity of what they were involved in, and only wanted to be involved because he enjoyed the thrill of excitement.

In 1857, Jeb accompanied Nate on a mission to get a letter to governor William Shannon, asking him to send troops to Lawrence to appease the mounting hostilities. Jeb's recklessness cost one volunteer fighter his life.

In the Spring of that year, Jeb was left in charge of the family print shop while Nate went to Washington to plead their cause to President Pierce. [2]



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