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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 684   View pdf image (33K)
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interest in the Nottingham Ironworks and a two-
thirds interest in Principle Ironworks. From 1760
until his death, Ridgely maintained extensive farms
on his Baltimore County land. PUBLIC CAREER.
LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: Lower House, Baltimore
County, 1773-1774 (Public Office 1); Conven-
tions, Baltimore County, 1st, 1774, 2nd-3rd, 1774,
4th, 1775, 5th, 1775 (elected, but did not attend),
9th, 1776 (Manufactories); Lower House, Balti-
more County, 1777, 1777-1778 (resigned 1st ses-
sion; reelected 2nd session), 1778-1779 (Tax
Commissioners 3), 1779-1780 (Elections 2, Claims
2, Tax Commissioners 2), 1780-1781 (resigned
1st session), 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786-1787, 1787-
1788 (Grievances 2), 1788, 1789. OTHER STATE
OFFICE: Constitution Ratification Convention,
Baltimore County, 1788. LOCAL OFFICES: church-
warden, St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore County, 1765-
1766; St. Paul's Parish Vestry, Baltimore County,
An analysis of Ridgely's political philosophy by
a modern historian shows him to have been
throughout his public career an advocate of weak,
decentralized government. He is described as be-
lieving "that taxes should be lower, government
less powerful, churches unsupported by the public
purse, and government-funded higher education
avoided at any cost." Letters and depositions
written during the winter of 1776-1777 indicate
that Ridgely felt the Revolution might have been
avoided had proper negotiations taken place.
Ridgely maintained an efficient local political ma-
chine, which reelected him consistently. He op-
posed ratification of the Federal Constitution. His
will provided for the manumission of two slaves.


His wife Rebecca was bequeathed £1,000.0.0 by
her father in 1772. Ridgely owned and operated
a grist mill in Baltimore County from 1772 to his
death. The value of his individual holdings was
assessed at £5,183.0.0, including 98 slaves, 42 oz.
plate, 1783. Between 1783 and 1789, Ridgely built
the imposing Georgian mansion in Baltimore
County still known as "Hampton." LAND AT FIRST
ELECTION: probably 7,159 acres in Baltimore and
Anne Arundel counties and Pennsylvania, lots on
Fell's Point, and at least 1 lot in Baltimore Town
(2,000 acres in Baltimore County as a gift from
his father, 1760; ca. 255 acres in Baltimore County
devised by his father, 1772; 4,904 acres in Bal-
timore and Anne Arundel counties and Pennsyl-
vania by patent and/or purchase), plus a two-
thirds interest in the lands belonging to the North-


50 acres in Baltimore County in partnership with
Samuel Chase (1741-1811) and William Paca (1740-
1799), 350 acres in Baltimore County, and prob-
ably 919 acres of his father-in-law's estate in Fred-
erick County, 1774; sold half of the Frederick
County land, 1775; purchased ca. 500 acres in
Baltimore County for himself and a share of 535
acres in Baltimore County for the ironworks, 1779-
1782; purchased with others the Dorsey Iron-
works, Nottingham Ironworks, and the Principle
Company giving him at least a one-fifth interest
in ca. 6,660 acres in Anne Arundel County, a
one-eighth interest in ca. 4,000 acres, and a two-
thirds interest in 876 acres, both in Baltimore
County, 1782-1785. In 1783 Ridgely was assessed
for 6,962 acres in his own name in Baltimore and
Anne Arundel counties. He obtained by patent
and purchase 3,265 acres in Baltimore, Anne
Arundel, and Frederick counties, 1783-1790, part
of which was in exchange for some of the Dorsey
land in Frederick County; sold 318 acres in Fred-
erick County shortly before his death. WEALTH
AT DEATH. DIED: on June 28, 1790, in Baltimore
County. PERSONAL PROPERTY: requested that no
administration of his estate be made; charged with
117 slaves, 1790. LAND: at least 10,780 acres, and
possibly as much as 11,482 acres, in Baltimore,
Anne Arundel, and Frederick counties, plus lots
in Baltimore Town and Fell's Point and land in
Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New York. Ridgely
also owned a share of the lands of the Northamp-
ton, Nottingham, Principio, and Dorsey iron-
works. Ridgely named as his principal heirs Charles
Ridgely Carnan, Charles Goodwin, of William,
Charles Goodwin, of Lyde, and Charles Sterett,
provided that each would legally assume the sur-
name Ridgely.

1786). BORN, between 1747 or 1748 and 1750, at
"Ridgely's Delight," Baltimore County; eldest son
to survive childhood. NATIVE: fifth generation.
RESIDED: at "Ridgely's Delight," Baltimore
County, until at least 1775; Anne Arundel County
by 1779; both "Ridgely's Delight" and his plan-
tation at Elkridge, Anne Arundel County, 1780
Ridgely (by 1724-1771), son of Charles Ridgely
(by 1705-1772). MOTHER: Mary Dorsey (1725-
ca. 1786). UNCLES: Charles Ridgely (1733-1790);
Edward Dorsey (1718-1760). AUNT: Rachel
Ridgely, who married Darby Lux (?-1795).
BROTHERS: (first name unknown) (ca. 1746-1748);



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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 684   View pdf image (33K)
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