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Kent was born in Fredericksburgh, New York, the son of Moss and Hannah (Rogers) Kent. He practiced law first in Poughkeepsie, New York, and later in New York City. His career on the bench began with his appointment to the New York Supreme Court in 1798; he became chief judge six years later. From 1814 to 1823, when he retired, Kent was chancellor of the New York Court of Chancery. He was elected an honorary member of The New-York Historical Society in 1813 and its fifth president in 1828.
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