Abdiel Kent’s shoe shop represents a time in Vermont when local craftsmen met local needs. These shop owners not only made a product, but also provided work for young farm men and some women when their help wasn’t needed at home.
Born at Kent’s Corner in Calais in 1805, Abdiel Kent was one of seven children.
Like many young men of his generation, Kent left home in his teens, working as
a mason in New Hampshire and a shoemaker in Massachusetts. When he returned home
in the late 1820s, he opened a shoe and boot manufacturing shop. For the next
thirty years Kent and his family prospered, expanding Kent’s Corner to
include a store, barns for a blacksmith and harness shop, and a large brick inn.
They also farmed, built houses, and ran a brickyard down the road at Gospel Hollow.
Kent was a community leader, serving as a selectman, as town moderator, and representing
Calais in the state legislature.
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