Jonathan Gent

Fifth son of Jonathan Gent (b 1785)

Jonathan was born in 1827 and was a pattern maker and machinist.  He formed an engineering firm Lawson & Gent in Salford and lived in Julia Street and Cotham Street, Strangeways, Manchester (near the area of the jail today)

He died 1867.  Cause of death ‘Hemorrhage from a cut wound in the throat.  Suicidal’.

The Manchester Guardian did not publish an inquest verdict.  The London Gazette carried a notice that the firm Lawson and Gent was dissolved and would continue under the direction of James Lawson.

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership lately subsisting between me the undersigned, James Lawson and Jonathan Gent, deceased, carrying on business at Victoria Works, Salford, in the county of Lancaster, as Machinists, under the firm of Lawson and Gent, was dissolved, by the death of the said Jonathan Gent, on the 1st day of December last. All debts due to or owing by the said late firm will be received and paid respectively by the said James Lawson, who carries on the said business on his own account, under the firm of James Lawson.
Dated this 21st day of February, 1868.
James Lawson.
Susannah Gent,
Executrix of Jonathan Gent.
The London Gazette, Feb 25, 1868 (p926)

The Gent family did not seem to be in debt at this time as 2 ‘excellent’ houses which could have been sold were offered for let.  In an advertisement appearing in the Manchester Guardian on 31 December 1867 2 excellent dwelling houses were offered for let by Mr Gent, Victoria Works, Springfield Lane, Salford.  The house at 11 Cotham Street (where Jonathan had lived – and possibily where he had cut his own throat!) was to be rented for £16.16s a year and a house in Bury New Road, Higher Broughton for a rent of £44 a year.

The average house rent in Great Britain for 1884 – nearly 20 years later – was £20 per year (Manchester Statistical Society), so the latter house especially would have been of a very high quality and in a very good area.

(It is interesting to note that Jonathan’s brother George had a son, Joseph Shaw Gent who committed suicide in a similar fashion, ie a cut wound in the throat in 1880 when he was aged 39.)

We are descended from Jonathan’s brother John born 1814 (and then John Gent born 1848) who lived in relative poverty as a reed maker in Whittle le Woods and died aged 77.

Jonathan’s own son, James Henry Gent died on 11 July 1928 at Grangethorpe, Grange Avenue, Levershulme in his 76th year after working for 59 years with T Collier and Co Ltd in Manchester.

The rich side of the Gent family

We know that Jonathan and George became rich as Manchester became world famous as a manufacturing centre.

George – engineering firm Kendall & Gent (making machine tools, milling cutters etc)

Jonathan – engineering firm Lawson & Gent

Henry Medcalf Gent (Jonathan’s eldest brother), lived in Bolton, a boom town in the 19th century and one of many mill towns that led the way in the Industrial Revolution.  He was a joiner and a beer seller but also had his share of misfortune.  He had 12 children and 9 died in infancy.  Also his son, James Lawson Gent who became an architect was committed to a lunatic asylum when he was 25.  Reason for madness ‘nervousness and over-study’ (see page for James L Gent )

The poor side of the Gent family

Whilst tragedy was rampant on the rich side of the family, the other two brothers James and our ancestor John seem to have plodded along in relative poverty away from the heavily industrialised areas.

James as a grocer and beer retailer living to the age of 69 in the depths of the slums in Scotland Road, Liverpool.

We are descended from Jonathan’s brother John Gent (b 1814) who lived in relative poverty as a reed maker in Whittle le Woods and died aged 77.

John Gent (1814-1891)…