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Ridgely family papers

Identifier: MS 1127


This collection consists of the papers pertaining to the Ridgely family of Hampden in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1757 to 1949.


  • 1757-1949


Conditions Governing Access

Public use of this collection is restricted to microfilm.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.


2.09 Linear Feet (5 full Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of D. Stewart Ridgely, February 1966.

Related Materials

MS 691, Charles Ridgely account books, 1732-1884

MS 692, Ridgely papers, 1664-1882

MS 692.1, Ridgely papers, 1733-1817

MS 693, Ridgely-Pue papers, 1748-1932

MS 715, Helen West Stewart Ridgely papers, 1868-1919

MS 715.1, Helen West Stewart Ridgely family papers, 1840-1918

MS 716, Ridgely-Stewart papers, 1733-1921

MS 717, Ridgely-Dorsey papers, 1733-1885

MS 1908, Ridgely papers, 1840-1919

MS 2891, Hoyt collection of Ridgely papers, 1716-1970

MS 3120, Acosta, Moulton, Ridgely family papers 1634-1979

Scope and Contents

This group of papers is a continuation of the family papers in MS. 692 and MS. 692.1. It contains papers pertaining to Capt. Charles Ridgely (1733-1790); his nephew and heir Charles [Carnan] Ridgely (1760-1829); his son John (1792-1867); John's wife Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely (1803-1867); their son Charles (1830-1872); Charles' wife Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely (1824-1904); and their children John (1851-1938), Eliza (1858-1954), and Margaretta (1869-1949).

Captain Charles Ridgely papers

Captain Charles Ridgely (1733-1790) was an iron master, politician, and builder of Hampton. His papers (1757-1791) in this collection supplement the larger collections of his papers in MS. 692 and 692.1.

His incoming letters (1757-1790, roughly 40 items) are largely from the period 1784-1790. They concern his iron works, especially company policy (1786) and his finances such as money owed to him. There is some mention of servants working at the furnaces and one letter/bill (1787) detailing the capture and return of runaway servants. The earliest letter (1757) is addressed Monsieur Charles Ridgely prisonnier de guerre and is from a man who was a prisoner in Bayonne. The letter has been damaged and is difficult to read. Charles Ridgely's correspondents include: Jesse Hollingsworth, Samuel Chase, Richard Dallam, John Dorsey, John Dennis, Thomas Rossiter, and Daniel Sheredine.

Ridgely's bills and receipts (1759-1791, roughly 50 items) deal with both personal and business expenditures. There are a few receipts for material to build Hampton. There is a listing of his property in 1783 used to assess his taxes. Also included are receipts (1785-1787) mentioning black money and one (1787) mentioning confiscated property.

Charles Ridgely's legal papers (1768-1790, roughly 15 items) consist of indentures and depositions. The Collection also includes the 1762 land grant for the Forge Mill.

There is one ledger (1780-1782) in Ridgely's hand. It records sales of liquor and some groceries to various individuals and probably belongs with the account book in MS. 691. It is located with the oversize material.

Charles Carnan Ridgely papers

Charles Carnan Ridgely (1760-1829) was the nephew of Captain Charles Ridgely who took the surname Ridgely in order to inherit his uncle's estate. His papers in this collection deal with running the Ridgely iron forge and his personal finances and do not relate to his political career as state legislator and as governor.

Ridgely's incoming letters (1787-1809, roughly 30 items) discuss orders for pig iron, workers at the forge, and Ridgely's personal finances especially the settlement of an estate in England. There are 2 letters (1796, 1798) from William Pinkney who was helping to settle this estate. There is a holograph copy of a letter (1809) from Samuel Chase about tobacco trade and the Embargo.

Ridgely's bills and receipts (1781-1817) also refer to the iron furnace and Ridgely's personal finances. Included are several receipts (1812, 1817) to architect Robert Cary Long, Sr. for the College of Medicine in Baltimore.

John Ridgely papers

The papers of John Ridgely (1792-1867) in this collection are 19 letters (1825-1866). The remainder of his papers are in MS. 691 and MS. 692.

Ridgely's letters deal with running Hampton, building a chapel and a house in Towson, and a suit (1866) against Ridgely by a former slave who wanted her possessions returned. Correspondents included: Charles Carroll, Robert Gilmor, and N.G. Starkweather.

Eliza E. Ridgely papers

Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely (1803-1867) was the wife of John Ridgely. Her papers in this collection consist of incoming correspondence (1816-1868) and receipted bills (1843-1859). Other financial records may be found in MS. 691 and MS. 692. Included are letters (1816-1818) from her father Nicholas G. Ridgely while she was at school in Philadelphia and letters (1849-1850) from her son Charles (1830-1872) while he was a student at Harvard University. Other letters are from a former governess Eliza Kingsworth, a friend in Vienna during the 1848 Revolutions, and Philemon Chase describing his Jubilee College (1850). Ridgely's papers include the specifications (1851) for a high mirror at Hampton.

Charles Ridgely papers

Charles Ridgely (1830-1872), the son of John and Eliza E. Ridgely, was a gentleman farmer at Hampton. His papers in this collection consist of incoming correspondence (1843-1872) and receipted bills (1852-1872). Much of this material concerns his financial affairs between 1870-1872 when Ridgely was living abroad. Chief correspondents are his bankers and friends Henry and J. L. Johnston and the foreman at Hampton who sent him monthly financial statements on the farm's production. Earlier correspondence includes letters (1852, 1866-69) from his sister Eliza [Ridgely] White Buckler in Paris. There is one letter (1857) from Robert Gilmor concerning a railroad right-of-way through Hampton, and one (1861) from a Missouri woman venting her anger toward Federal troops.

The collection contains Charles Ridgely's journal (1847-1848) of daily activities during a year in France and England. Letters written by Charles while he was at Harvard (1849-1850) are in his mother's (Eliza E. Ridgely) letters in this collection, and there are some letters from him in his wife's (Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely) letters also in this collection.

Margaretta S. Howard Ridgely papers

Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely (1824-1904) was the wife of Charles Ridgely (1830-1872). Her papers in this collection are incoming letters (1840-1889, roughly 20 items) and 3 account books (1864, 1869, 1878-1891). These financial papers are supplemented by records in MS. 691, MS. 692, and MS. 717.

Ridgely's letters (1845-1870) are from family members who were living in Europe, especially her sister-in-law Eliza (Didy) [Ridgely] White Buckler who wrote about life in London and Paris in 1866-1870. Eliza's father-in-law Henry White and her son Henry White (1850-1927) also wrote frequently to Margaretta Ridgely. There are also letters from her husband Charles in the 1860s and from her sons and daughter Eliza at school in France 1866-1872. Although most letters were from family members, Margaretta did receive letters from others including two bitter southern friends who wrote at the close of the Civil War.

After her husband's death in 1872, Margaretta Ridgely returned to Baltimore, living at Hampton and in town. Her correspondence after 1872 is sparse, but in MS. 717 are her bills and receipts (1870-1885). These are supplemented by her London bills and receipts (1870-1871) in MS. 692.

The three account books in this collection are accounts of produce from Hampton (1864-1865), family clothing (1869, which is erroneously labelled 1883 butter account) and taxes 1878, 1879, 1891.

John Ridgely papers

John Ridgely (1851-1938) was the son of Charles and Margaretta S. Ridgely. Few of his papers have survived. Those in this collection are letters (1872-1876, roughly 15 items) he received after his father's death and pertain to the estate. Another small group of letters received by John is in MS. 715.1.

Eliza Ridgely papers

Eliza Ridgely (1858-1954) was the daughter of Charles and Margaretta S. Ridgely. She was active in Baltimore social reform movements, but her papers do not reflect these activities. The papers (1870-1901, roughly 30 items) are largely incoming letters from suitors (1881-1886), and a short story based on a dream.

Margaretta S. Ridgely papers

Margaretta S. Ridgely (1869-1949) was the daughter of Charles and Margaretta S. Ridgely. She was a Protestant Episcopal missionary (1904-1932) to Liberia, and her papers deal with her work. She founded and ran a boarding school, House of Bethany, for native girls in Cape Mount, Liberia. Her papers are mainly letters written to her by former students after she retired in 1932. There are also some of her writings on the school. There is a 7-page proposal of marriage (1904) to Ridgely from a stranger who had read about her wealth and her plans to become a missionary.

Miscellaneous materials

There is an unidentified daybook (1743) listing groceries sold which probably belonged to Colonel Charles Ridgely. Also included are notes on sermons preached at Emmanuel Church, 1854-1856. The collection has about 20 letters (1840s-1850s) written to Julia Howard, probably the sister of Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely.

Guide to the Ridgely family papers
Under Revision
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Revision Statements

  • 2019-09-26: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States