Ridgely Family Papers, 1757-1949, MS. 1127

Ridgely Family Papers, 1757-1949

Maryland Historical Society


(Text converted and initial EAD tagging provided by Apex Data Services, March 1999.)

Ridgely Family Papers, 1757-1949
Maryland Historical Society

Contact Information:
Manuscripts Department
Maryland Historical Society Library
201 West Monument Street
Baltimore MD 21201-4674
Fax: 410.385.2105


Descriptive Summary

Ridgely Family Papers, 1757-1949

MS. 1127

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore MD 21201-4674


Scope and Content Note

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).




Capt. Charles Ridgely Papers


Capt. 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, ca. 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 Chas. 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, ca. 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, ca. 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, ca. 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 S[amuel] Chase to (?) Dorsey 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] 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, n.d., ca. 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, ca. 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, ca. 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.



There is an unidentified daybook (1743) listing groceries sold which probably belonged to Col. Charles Ridgely. Also included are notes on ca. 20 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.


Photographs were transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division in July 1982.


Container List

Box 1

Capt. Charles Ridgely Incoming Letters

1757-1790, n.d.

Reel 1




Capt. Charles Ridgely Legal Papers


Reel 2




Capt. Charles Ridgely Bills and Receipts

1759-1791, n.d.




Power of Attorney, Colin Dunlap to Robert Chrystie





Order for Mourning Clothes





Land Grant for Forge Mill









Box 2

Charles [Carnan] Ridgely Incoming Letters


Reel 3




Charles [Carnan] Ridgely Bills and Receipts

1781-1817, n.d.



Reel 3





Reel 4

1803-18 [UNK]





Charles [Carnan] Ridgely Legal Papers





John Ridgely (1792-1867) Letters





Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely Incoming Letters

1816-1868, n.d.




Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely Bills and Receipts





William Blackford to----





Box 3

Charles Ridgely (1830-1872) Incoming Letters

1843-1872, n.d.

Reel 5




Charles Ridgely (1830-1872) Bills and Receipts

1852-1872, n.d.




Charles Ridgely (1830-1872) Journal


Reel 6




Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely Incoming Letters





Box 4

Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely Incoming Letters

1873-1889, n.d.

Reel 7




Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely Account Books

1864, 1869, 1878-91




Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely Legal Papers





Margaretta S. [Howard] Ridgely Pamphlet A Candid Examination of the Episcopal Church




John Ridgely (1851-1938) Incoming Letters

1872-1876, n.d.




[Charles] Howard Ridgely, [Jr.], Otho E. Ridgely, School Papers





Howard Ridgely, Valentine





Eliza Ridgely (1858-1954) Incoming Letters

1872-1890, n.d.




Eliza Ridgely (1858-1954) Christmas List





Eliza Ridgely (1858-1954) A Dream Fantasy





Margaretta S. Ridgely (1869-1949) Incoming Letters

1874, 1904-1942, n.d.

Reel 8




Margaretta S. Ridgely (1869-1949) Financial Papers





Margaretta S. Ridgely (1869-1949) House of Bethany Papers





Margaretta S. Ridgely (1869-1949) Certificates





Margaretta S. Ridgely (1869-1949) Passport





J[ames] H[oward] to James Carroll





[James McHenry Howard] A Dream





Julia Howard Incoming Letters

ca. 1840-1850, n.d.




Ella Ridgely Incoming Letters

1873-1887, n.d.




Box 5

Howard Financial Papers

1853, 1868

Reel 9




Ridgely-Howard Genealogy





George L.L. Davis A Brief Memoir of the Family of Ridgely




Sermons Preached at Emmanuel Church (notes)





Charles R. Howard. Papers re Emmanuel Church











1872, n.d.





1823-1873, n.d.




Woodcuts of birds





Printed Material

1850-1887, n.d.




Unidentified Letters

1850-1875, n.d.





1811-1911, n.d.





Capt. Charles Ridgely (1733-1790), Ledger





[Col. Charles Ridgely?], Daybook





Charles Ridgely Passport