I'm treading lightly with this Beeks ancestor, because there is a lack of information (as in, none documented) about his early years. He is believed to have been raised in either Nether Wallop or Over Wallop, Hampshire, England, but I've not found the proof for that. His parents are believed to be Thomas Kent and Ellen Pyle. If these are his parents, he may have had as many as 8 siblings, so it would have been a lively household.
There doesn't seem to be much information about his spouse, either. Most sites list her as Emma, I found one reference to "Emma Mason" and one to Dorothe Short. Emma is believed to be the mother of his children, and he was married to Emma when he died.
Thomas came to Ipswich, Massachusetts on the Mary and John in 1634 and settled briefly at Ipwich, and then moved to Newbury the very next year. He is listed on a plaque as being one of the first settlers of the town. We aren't sure when his family arrived, although I found a reference to daughter Rebecca's arrival in 1638, with Richard's brother Stephen. She was 16 at the time, which makes one wonder about the birth of John in 1645. Did both children have the same mother?
Richard and his family settled in Newbury where Richard acquired land. He is listed as a "maltster", or someone who produced the malt that was used in beers and vinegar. We don't find a record of public service, or of military service. However, during this time period he was doubtless part of whatever training band or loose-knit group of militia that the town had, as every able-bodied man was required to so serve. I've yet to find a record of church membership, which may explain why I've not found mention of him as a freeman, either. However, his will indicates that one salmon should be given yearly to Mr. Noyes, probably Rev. James Noyes of Newbury, and to Mr. Roggers of Rowley, probably Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, of Rowley. So perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough for the records, yet, because obviously he had some Christian convictions.
Little else is known of his life in Newbury. His son John was born there in 1645. There are a couple of occasions we might wish we didn't know about, both suits brought by John Godfrey. Richard was sued for slander in 1642, outcome not found, and a year later he was sued for an "unstated infraction" and was to be whipped. He recovered, and continued to support his family.
He netted fish with his weir (that's how the salmon were to be acquired) and he farmed.( He had land directly fronting the Parker River, which would explain the reference to the salmon.)
His will proved September 26, 1654 and appraisal showed a value of a little over 233 pounds, including a dwelling house, barn, orchard with 82 bearing trees and a nursery, tillage land, pasture land, meadow, and another parson of land bought of Mr. Rawson. His estate also included two oxen, 4 cows, one two year old steer and 2 yearlings, 3 calves and six swine, and four stocks of bees. His other possessions were typical farm and household equipment. There was no mention of books or a Bible.
He left his wife her choice of ten pounds per year or 30 pounds all at once, and the fruit from "her" apple tree. I haven't found a death date yet for Emma. I'd like to know more about Richard, of course Emma or Dorothy or whomever was the mother of Rebecca.
Here's the line of descent:
Richard Kent-Emma or Dorothe
Rebecca Kent-Samuel Scullard
Mary Scullard-John Rolfe
Mary Rolfe-Benjamin Dunham
Jonathan Dunham-Mary Smith
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Fun fact. Richard Kent, who was whipped for some infraction, was an ancestor of President Barack Obama.