Ridgely Papers, 1664-1882, MS. 692

Ridgely Papers, 1664-1882

Maryland Historical Society


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Ridgely Papers, 1664-1882
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


MS. 692

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore MD 21201-4674

Abstracts of the Ridgely Papers by Patricia D. Anderson, MF179.R545 A contains more on MS.692


Scope and Content Note

This collection contains papers pertaining to Capt. Charles Ridgely (1733-1790); his nephew and heir Charles [Carnan] Ridgely (1760-1829); Charles [Carnan] Ridgely's son John (1792-1867); John's father-in-law (and distant relative) Nicholas Greenberry Ridgely (1771-1829); and John's son Charles Ridgely (1830-1872). This collection does not contain all the papers of any one mentioned above, but deals largely with their business activities.




Capt. Charles Ridgely Papers


Capt. Charles Ridgely (1733-1790) was a sea captain, planter, iron master, Baltimore County politician, and builder of the Ridgely estate Hampton. His papers in this collection reflect all these activities.

The papers consist of correspondence (1757-1790), ca. 240 items) and financial papers, mostly accounts and receipts (1758-1791, ca. 200 items). The bulk of Ridgley's correspondence dates from 1782-1790 and correspondence from the earlier years can be found in MS. 692.1. Ridgely's correspondents in the 1782-1790 period include: John Dorsey, John Sterett, Samuel Chase, Benjamin Nicholson, Tench Tilghman, William Goodwin, Horatio Belt, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, John Dennis, Jesse Hollingsworth, Daniel Sheredine, Robert Gilchrist, George Lux, and Jehu Howell. Topics covered in these letters are the management of Northampton furnace, the hiring/buying of forge workers, and the acquisition of land, including some mention of property confiscated during the Revolution.

Although Ridgely was a political power in Baltimore County and a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, 1777-1787, this group of papers does not shed much light on his political activities. There is a deposition (1786) stating that Ridgely was overheard to say he voted for Samuel Chase because Chase promised to move the seat of

government to Baltimore. There is also one letter (1782 Sept. 23) from Samuel Chase to _____ [Ridgely?] about British prisoners and the possibility of peace. There are two letters (1786, 1788) from George Lux detailing the political situation in Baltimore County and two letters (1787) from Robert Gilchrist about the 1786 election. Ridgely was accused of impropriety concerning his opposition to a turnpike in the county; there are two depositions regarding this issue. Another controversial topic was the new (1786) valuation of land in Baltimore County. George Lux's letter (1786) describes this, and there are also notes and calculations on this new valuation.

The financial papers in this collection are loose accounts and receipts for Ridgely's personal transactions as well as some for his business. There are a few receipts (1786 and n.d.) for work done in building Hampton. Some of Ridgely's receipts could be in the unidentified receipts in Box 12. Ridgely's financial record books for both his iron furnace and his mercantile business are in MS. 691. Financial papers from his estate are found in Charles [Carnan] Ridgely's papers, Box 5.




Charles [Carnan] Ridgely Papers


Charles [Carnan] Ridgely (1760-1829) was Capt. Charles Ridgely's nephew and heir. Charles [Carnan] Ridgely inherited both Northampton Furnace and the estate Hampton. He served in the Maryland legislature and was governor of Maryland from 1816-1819. His papers in this collection, however, do not deal with his political career. His correspondence (1790-1811, ca. 40 items) deals with running the iron forge and farming. Other items include a contract to find new stratum of coal, 1801; advertisements he circulated for a runaway Negro, 1791; and a catalog, 1829, of the contents of Hampton sold at his death.

The collection includes loose accounts and receipts (1784-1811, ca. 150 items) for Ridgely's personal and business transactions. Included in these papers are receipts concerning Capt. Charles Ridgely's estate. See also Box 12 for unidentified bills and receipts that could belong to Charles [Carnan] Ridgely.




John Ridgely Papers


John Ridgely (1792-1867) was the son of Charles [Carnan] Ridgley. In 1828 he married his distant relative Eliza E. Ridgely (1803-1867) who was the daughter of Nicholas G. Ridgely. The collection contains financial papers of both John and Eliza Ridgely while their correspondence is in MS. 1127 and their financial record books are in MS. 691.

John's bills and receipts (1829-1861), ca 200 items) contain many bills of sale for slaves (1829-1838). There are also accounts of farm items produced at Hampton (1840s). John was trustee for the estate Nicholas G. Ridgely left his daughter Eliza, and annual accounts appear with John's financial papers.




Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely Papers


Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely's (1803-1867) papers deal with finances. Eliza was quite musical and loose bills and receipts (1817-1859, ca. 100 items) include those for music lessons and repair of her harp in the years (1820-1826). (Eliza and her harp are the subjects of a portrait by Thomas Sully; the pertinent receipts are in Nicholas G. Ridgely's papers, Boxes 7 and 10.). Eliza's bills in 1840-1859 are for household goods. There are two record books kept by Eliza which list subscriptions to the Impartial Society (1849-1854), donations to the Widow's Asylum (1849-1851), and her personal expenses (1849-1853). These supplement her account books in MS. 691.




Nicholas Greenberry Ridgely Papers


Nicholas Greenberry Ridgely (1771-1829) was a Baltimore grocery merchant in the firm of Macdonald and Ridgely. Account books and letter books of this firm are in MS. 691. The firm was apparently successful; most of Ridgely's papers deal with the disposition of his wealth, not the grocery firm's activities.

Ridgely's correspondence (1799-1829) largely deals with the collection of funds owed him. There are numerous letters from relatives needing money including Ridgely's

brother Frederick in Lexington, Kentucky; his sister Sally in Elk Ridge, Maryland; his nephews Greenberry W. Ridgely, William S. Ridgely, and David Griffith in New Orleans; and relatives by marriage Henry Gassaway in Cincinnati and Alfred H. Dashiell in Philadelphia.

Many other letters deal with two lengthy lawsuits in which Ridgely was involved. In one case Ridgely sued the heirs of Samuel Chase (Samuel, Thomas, and Richard M. Chase) for a piece of waterfront property mortgaged to Ridgely. There is much correspondence (1816-1826) as well as a box of legal papers pertaining to Ridgely vs. Chase. A Chase bank book bearing on this case is in MS. 691. In the other case the Union Bank sued Ridgely for various reasons. Correspondence relating to these cases is found during the years 1822-1826.

Other topics covered in Ridgely's correspondence include: the sale of Ridgely's land near Natchez, Louisiana (1800-1809); the bill for Thomas Sully's 1818 portrait of Eliza Ridgely (in Box 7) and an 1820 bill for Sully's portrait of Nicholas (in Box 10); the 1819 financial depression; the Gettysburg and Petersburg turnpike (1824-1825); stock in a Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, bank (1825-1829); Ridgely's support of Andrew Jackson (1827-1829); and the controversy over Macdonald and Ridgely's contracts to provide the U.S. Navy with groceries in 1829. Ridgely's correspondents included Samuel Chase, Samuel Chase, Jr., Thomas Chase, Jesse Eichelberger, Reverdy Johnson, and John Greene Proud. Nicholas Ridgely's papers also contain two letters (1799) from E[lizabeth] Patterson. These were written to his wife Eliza [Eichelberger] Ridgely.

Nicholas Ridgely's financial papers consist of loose bills and receipts (1793-1829). The record books are in MS. 691. The bills and receipts pertain to his personal finances and those of Macdonald and Ridgely. See Box 12 for unidentified bills and receipts that could belong to Nicholas G. Ridgely.

Ridgely died in 1829, and his business partner Alexander Macdonald was the executor of his estate. Macdonald's correspondence and receipts pertaining to the settlement of the estate are in Box 10.




Charles Ridgely Papers


Charles Ridgely (1830-1872) was the son of John and Eliza E. Ridgely. There are few of his papers in the collection. Those that exist include cancelled checks (1867-1869, ca. 50 items). Charles had been living in Europe prior to his death in 1872, and there are numerous London merchants' bills and receipts (1870-1871, ca. 100 items) to his wife Margaretta S. Ridgely.




Ridgely Land Papers


The collection includes about two hundred documents relating to land owned by the Ridgely family. Most of the land was in Baltimore County and the city of Baltimore. These papers are arranged chronologically and span the period 1664-1850 with the bulk from 1720-1850.




Peripheral Ridgely Papers


There is a group of papers in the collection that cannot be identified as belonging to any of the Ridgely family members mentioned above. These papers, therefore, have been filed separately in Box 12.

These include records concerning the Maryland Militia in 1794 and 1807-1809. The records are lists of officers and privates (1794, n.d.), militia company returns (1807-1808), and a list of men drafted (1809). There is also a copy of a letter (April 1781) from William Livingston to Samuel Huntington concerning Gen. Clinton's departure for Delaware.

There are also two accounts (1759, 1761) of William Ridgely (son of Robert), three accounts (1785) of Col. Charles Ridgely, and a group of unidentified bills and receipts probably related to Capt. Charles, Charles [Carnan], and Nicholas G. Ridgely.

John [Carnan] Ridgely's 1806 school book while at St. Mary's College is also in the collection. There are three letters of a Charles Ridgely (1845, 1860s). Other Ridgely items include a deposition (1746) concerning Northampton; two lists of slaves

owned (1780s, 1840s); two bills of sale (1818, 1832) for the sale of slaves; two architectural elevations, one of row-houses on Canal Street and another of an unidentified house; and N.G. Starkwether's floor plan for Mr. White's villa in Towson.

James P. Erskine was in business with an Eichelberger, a relative of Mrs. Nicholas G. Ridgely, and there are about thirty of his letters (1834-1840) concerning the business.


Container List


Box 1

Charles Ridgely Correspondence


Reel 1




Box 2

Charles Ridgely Correspondence


Reel 2




Box 3

Charles Ridgely Correspondence

1787-1790, n.d.

Reel 3




Indentured Servant Contracts





List of Hirelings at Northampton Furnace





Laws Passed, April 1782 Session





Confiscated Property Papers

1783, 1787




Turnpike Law Papers

1785, 1787




Plan of Land Valuation to Equalize Tax





Estate Papers





Legal Memoranda





Box 4

Charles Ridgely Bills and Receipts

1758-1791, n.d.

Reel 4




Box 5

Charles [Carnan] Ridgely Correspondence

1790-1811, n.d.

Reel 5




Advertisements For Runaway Negro





Contract to Find Coal





Catalog of Belongings at Hampton





Extract of Will





Legal Papers





Charles [Carnan] Ridgely Estate





Box 6

Charles [Carnan] Ridgely Bills and Receipts

1784-1820, n.d.

Reel 6




Box 7

Nicholas G. Ridgely Correspondence


Reel 7




Box 8

Nicholas G. Ridgely Correspondence

1824-1829, n.d.

Reel 8




Eliza [Eichelberger] Ridgely Letters





Nicholas G. Ridgely Wills

1817, 1820, 1822




Legal Papers





Powers of Attorney










Gettysburg and Petersburg Turnpike Papers





Reisterstown Road Stockholders List





Transfer of Property





Union Bank of Maryland vs. Nicholas G. Ridgely





Box 9

Nicholas G. Ridgely Bills and Receipts


Reels 9 - 10




Box 10

Nicholas G. Ridgely Bills and Receipts

1820-1829, n.d.

Reels 11 - 12




Nicholas G. Ridgely Estate Correspondence


Reel 12




Nicholas G. Ridgely Estate Bills and Receipts





Nicholas G. Ridgely Estate, Ground Rents





Box 11

Nicholas Ridgely and Alexander McDonald vs Samuel and Thomas Chase re Chase's Wharf


Reel 13




Box 12

Maryland Militia Papers

1794-1809, n.d.

Reel 14




William Ridgely Accounts





Col. Charles Ridgely Accounts





Unidentified Bills and Receipts




John Carnan Ridgely School Book, St. Mary's College





Charles G. Ridgely Letter





Deposition re Northampton





List of Slaves

[1780's, 1840's]




Bill of Sale for Slaves

1818, 1832




Architectural Drawings (oversize)






ca. 1865, n.d.




Insurance Policies










James P. Erskine Correspondence





Otho W. Eichelberger Letters





Eichelberger Insurance Policies





Mathew Smith et al.





William Livington Letter





William Andrew Will





McHenry to John Caldwell





Louis Gassawav to Samuel Moale





Gagneau Freres to





Agreement re Sale of Shot and Small Bar Lead





List of Stereopticon Views

ca. 1814




Advertisement re a Lost Horse





Index to Account Book





Medicinal Recipe





Letter re Vaccination





John Ridgely of Hampton Legal Papers

1831, 1846, 1852




John Ridgely of Hampton Bills and Receipts





Box 13

John Ridgely of Hampton Bills and Receipts

1846-1861, n.d.

Reel 15 (1846-1858) Reel 16 1858 +




Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely Bills and Receipts





Eliza E. [Ridgely] Ridgely Account Books





Charles Ridgely (1829-1872) Cancelled Checks





Margaretta S. Ridgely Bills and Receipts





Box 14

Ridgely Land Papers


Reel 17




Box 15

Ridgely Land Papers

1810-1850, n.d.

Reel 18





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