Stairwell Room:
18th Century State House Wall

Letter, Mary Ridout (1746-1808) to Anne Tasker Ogle (1723-1817)

January 16, 1784, page 1
Ink on paper

MSA SC 358

Letter, Mary Ridout to Anne Ogle   

A Lady’s View of the Resignation

This excerpt is taken from a four-page letter from Mary “Molly” Ridout to her mother, Anne Tasker Ogle, written in January 1784. In addition to describing George Washington’s resignation, which she witnessed from the gallery of the Old Senate Chamber, the letter contains news about family members and local gossip.

Molly Ridout was the daughter of former Provincial Governor Samuel Ogle. She married John Ridout, who came to Maryland in 1753 as secretary to Governor Horatio Sharpe. The Ridouts built an elegant house in Annapolis, and were important members of Annapolis society, often entertaining prominent visitors such as George Washington in their home.

In the 18th century, women were not permitted on the floor of the Old Senate Chamber and had to watch events from the balcony, or gallery. Molly Ridout and Delaware Congressman James Tilton both described the presence of women in the gallery on the day of George Washington’s resignation. As Ridout wrote, the gallery was “full of ladies.”




KEy Images on the

Apprentice cabinetmakers Francis Pavlak (l) and Brian Weldy(r) work in the 
Anthony Hay Cabinetmaker's Shop, 2011
Front Elevation of the State House
General George Washington Resigning His Commission

The Ground Plan of the STATE-HOUSE at ANNAPOLIS
View of Annapolis
Advertisement, Maryland Gazette, December 17, 1783

Key Documents on the Wall

Molly Ridout Letter
Payment to Negro Cardy
Inovice of Johhn Shaw
Letter from Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer to David Stewart

Exhibits in the Stairwell Room

John Shaw # 1 Des