Notes on Hampton Mansion
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A. Design

Hampton is an example of the well-known five-part early Maryland house plan of three main architectural units connected by "hyphens." The size of the fabric is impressive. It measures 175 feet long, one of the most pretentious in 18th-century America. Position on a hilltop adds to its stature. The great octagonal cupola which crowns the house, rising nearly thirty-four feet above the main ridge, is its dominating feature, unique among the great 18th-century houses of this country. It may well have been inspired by the eight-sided dome over Castle Howard in Yorkshire, the magnificent country house begun in 1700 under the joint direction of architects John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor. There is a tradition that Captain Charles Ridgely, the man who had Hampton built, was emulating the Howards--from whom he was descended through his mother's family. [1]

Hampton's design presents some anomalies that grow more obvious as one analyzes its architectural character. John Scarff wrote "its design is not altogether successful. . .there is. . .too great a discrepancy of scale. . . ." and this writer agrees. It is almost certain that the exterior was never completed in accordance with the original design (the drawings have been lost). Only the first elements to be completed--outside, the elaborate features from the cornice up; inside, some of the second-floor rooms; ever fulfilled the initial ambitions of grandeur and elaboration. The plainness of the parts completed later is striking by contrast.

To understand the discrepancies in decoration one must remember the economic climate--or climates--in which Hampton was built. Construction had been started in the boom period described in the diary of General Greene for September 2S, 1783:

Baltimore is a most thriving place. Trade flourishes, and the spirit of building exceeds belief. Not less than three hundred houses are put up in a year. Groundrents are a little short of what they are in London. [2]

But the outlook changed in the next few years. Samuel Chase of Annapolis, who had been a partner in some of Captain Ridgely's ventures--and was, like him, a purveyor of Revolutionary munitions and a trader in confiscated Tory coal and iron lands--went bankrupt in 1789. [3] Captain Ridgely evidently had to cut down the decoration of his house to suit changing circumstances. Certainly, the main rooms on the first floor do not fulfill the promise of those on the second.

There is some direct physical evidence of this. During the repair of plasterwork on the first floor in 1949, it was discovered that nailing blocks had been built into the brick partition walls in anticipation of woodwork never installed. Before any decorative trim could be nailed to those blocks (there were no nail holes) they had been plastered over and remained concealed until modern times. It is true, speaking of architectural styles, that after the Revolution large areas of wooden paneling were about to give way to plain plaster walls covered with wallpaper. But the 1780's seem too early for word to have reached the carpenters at Hampton. They were country builders who had already been on the place ten years before the Mansion was started.

Hampton--as projected into an elevation drawing--has some remarkable resemblances to the Apthorp House in New York City built a few years earlier (see Illustration 18).

The stucco finish of the exterior is early for an American house; its pinkish terra cotta color ties it to the iron history of the place.

B. Dates of Construction

Except for certain detailed carpentry documents considered below, information regarding the construction of the mansion is scattered and still very incomplete. It is quite possible that after an orderly arrangement and thorough sifting, the Ridgely Papers will reveal most of the story. But the difficulty of deciphering many of the manuscripts, the fact that business affairs of all kinds are mixed together and that several houses and other buildings were going up on Ridgely lands simultaneously, makes the task far from easy.

The documents so far examined do not establish the exact dates of either the beginning or of completion. In August of 1783 Ridgely refers to "my house now bilding in the forrest" with a reference to carpenters Jehu Howell and William Richardson, who had previously erected for him a house "in the Neck." [4] This indicates that construction was underway soon after the signing of the treaty which ended the Revolutionary War. In his will of April 7, 1787, the Captain again refers to "the new house I am now building." [5] By November of that year the roofs over the main block and both wings had already been completed and shingled. [6] The traditional dates of the whole project are 1783-1790 and they may well be correct. It does seem extraordinary that more references to construction progress have not as yet been found. Twenty years ago it was said there had been the date "1783" in lead numerals set in the stucco near the north kitchen door but they have disappeared and there seems to be no photograph of them.

From the standpoint of the bookkeepers' records house construction can be divided into three periods:

(A) Early 1783 - November 4, 1784. In this period Howell had deducted one-sixth of his pay in exchange for board with Captain Ridgely. On the latter date the Howells seemed to have moved into a house of their own.

(B) From November 4, 1784, to November 27, 1787, the date of Howell's death. In this period Howell lived with his own family and no deduction from his earnings was made for board.

(C) November 27, 1787 - completion. Modern writers have given the terminal date as both 1788 and 1790. It has generally been assumed that the house was complete when Captain Ridgely died on June 28, 1790.

There is said to be an entry in Rebecca Ridgely's diary that shows she moved into the Mansion on December 8, 1788, [7] but that does not prove completion. It was not uncommon for families to move into a dependency while their main house was under construction and it would be quite possible to have inhabited one of Hampton's wings in advance of total completion.

C. Mason's Work

No references have yet been found for the excavation of the cellar and foundations. Possible the removal of earth was done in the rough by horses pulling slip shovels followed by workmen trimming off with spade and shovel.


One of the first steps in the construction project would be to haul the stone for the masonry walls to the site of the new building, and there are entries for that.

The Mansion is built of a common rough gneiss-schist type of rock probably from some nearby quarry. There are references to working a quarry in the Ridgely Papers for this period, but they may pertain to limestone being got out for the smelting of iron or for making mortar. [8]

As mentioned above Account Book XXIX has the following note for August 1, 1783, "Scotts waggons begun this Day to hall Stone." These records run for some ten weeks and refer to both David and George Scott. The work seems to have been halted at that point, possibly by the bad roads of winter, but they pick up again the following spring.

Hearthstones, which would probably have been neatly cut if used in a house, are mentioned in the records. Account Book XLIV shows payments of £3 each on January 31, 1785, to Charles R. Carnan and John Richards "for bringg hearthstone." [9]

Account Book XXX (Ledger E, p. 111) shows that David Scott was hauling stone again in April of 1784 with four- and five-horse teams, the quantity delivered amounting to 367 loads and 196 perches. His bill came to £135...19...5-1/2 after the value of four pairs of horseshoes (from Ridgely's blacksmith or from the Company store) was deducted. It is interesting to note that Moses Dillon and Jehu Howell (see below) measured the quantities of stone delivered.

Account Book XLVI (timebook, 1784) gives the teamster's records daily. David Scott began to be paid by the day on May 1, 1784, and by the load on May 12. His work continued to August 20. The record includes such homely items as "Scotts horse lame," "Scott has 1 of my horses," "Skots waggon Broake," "Rain London hauled 1 Load Lime," and "Skots waggoner gone home." For July 8 there was no entry "for want of Stone"; the teamsters had got ahead of the quarry men. On September 16 five out fits were hauling brick from Baltimore. [10] The record ends with October 15.


Captain Ridgely was able to supply lime made on his own lands. [11] Its production was a simple matter according to the technology of the period.

In Account Book LVII, a daybook for Northampton Furnace, there is an item "Capt. Chas. Ridgely for 15 Bus (hels) Lime sent pr Myler to main Building @ 1/...15...0." We thus have at least a bookkeeper's valuation of the humble but essential material--lime--at a shilling per bushel, the common way of measuring it at the time.


Historian Bienvenu cited an item in the Ridgely Papers for masonry work done by Jonathan Blaine and Joseph Brearly on a structure which had a "main building" a wing and a granary, [12] but a careful analysis of the dimensions by Architect Judd shows that this could not have been the Hampton Mansion. The names of those masons do not appear elsewhere.

Moses Dillon, who was much about the Hampton premises in those years, is also credited with some mason's work in November 1784 (Account Book XLVII), though the item below may not pertain to the Mansion:

By 68 p.r of wall @ 2/£6...16...0
By 1 chimney & underpinning house2..10...0
By 1 mantle peice0...5...0 [13]

On an undated sheet in Captain Ridgely's hand (Carpenters' Bill No. 5) attributed by Dr. Hoyt to the construction of the Mansion, there is this item, seemingly for mason's work:

Mr. Richardsons Bill for my chimney47.10.3
Mr. Richds paid Wm Riddle more than Charged in Chimney Acct4.15.--
Mr. Richardson paid Ths Green for work on the Chimney more than charged in the Acct)5.15.--


The names Riddle and Green do not appear elsewhere in the Mansion records and I am inclined to believe that this work was done on another house.

Ledger K (p. 72) contains an account of John Selby, a mason, for the year 1790 but the location and nature of work are not specified.

D. Plasterer's Work

The stucco covering of the stone masonry is one of the notable features of Hampton and was a part of the original construction. The masonry of the Mansion--as revealed here and there through fallen stucco--is of a rather indifferent character, seeming to indicate that it was always intended to be covered with a veneer.

Norman Davey, A History of Building Materials, London, 1961, has an excellent chapter on stucco [14] which he traces from Egyptian and Roman times. There was a revival of its use in Italy of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and it was favored by Palladio who had great influence in England and America. Henry VIII introduced it at his Nonsuch Palace and it was taken up in turn by Inigo Jones and Robert Adam. John Nash by 1782 was building London houses with stucco fronts.

We do not yet have a comparable reference book on the technology of early American building but it is easy to observe that exterior stucco has long been a favored material in the early Caribbean and it had reached South Carolina in the early 18th century. Thomas T. Waterman, The Mansions of Virginia, 1706-1776, surmises that Mt. Airy, the great stone house of the Tayloes on the Rappahannock, may have been plastered. [15]

Fiske Kimball noted that exterior stucco finish was becoming fashionable here after the Revolution and points out its use at the well-known house "Solitude" (built 1784) by John Penn on the Schuylkill above Philadelphia. It may also be appropriate to note that the Free Quaker Meeting House, built 1783-84, has rusticated plaster arches over its windows in imitation of stonework. [16] These buildings are exactly contemporary with the beginnings of Hampton.

The notable thing about the original Hampton stucco is that it was of a pinkish terra cotta color resulting from red (iron bearing) sand in white lime mortar. This was marked off into an ashlar pattern by white lines, probably applied with a penciling brush. [17] The present drab gray stucco is the color of modern Portland cement; no one knows when it was applied.

Samples of the original finish have been found in protected places. In 1949 the writer located a sample where the "Schoolhouse" addition had covered part of the exterior finish of the main house. In later years NPS Architect Henry A. Judd found some of it under the south porch. It appears in several places below the water table and on the older stable building.

On April 7, 1970--as a part of the preparation for this report--NPS Architect Judd of the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation and I visited Hampton and stripped the plaster in the Schoolhouse hyphen passageway that leads from the Sitting Room to the garden front of the Mansion. Superintendent Benjamin and Custodian McPherson were present. We were most pleased to find a large area of the original exterior of the house in excellent condition even after some thirty years of exposure to the weather when it was still new.

Above the water table the blocks were laid off by lines of white paint 5/16" wide with blocks varying from 27" to 30-1/2" long and about 8" high. Below the water table the blocks were somewhat larger. When this wall is completely laid bare, the pattern can be studied in detail for evidence to lay out the pattern on the remainder of the house.

This discovery is a remarkably fortunate break and all should be happy indeed that a guide has been found for an unusual but authentic effect that will add character to the Mansion. It is hoped that this sample will be labeled and carefully protected for its interest to architects, architectural historians and old house enthusiasts generally.

Incidentally, the taste for artificial wooden ashlar, best exemplified at George Washington's Mount Vernon, appears in several places above the cornice line at Hampton.

No plasterer's or painter's bills for this work have yet been found.

E. Carpenter's Work


The lumber used by Captain Ridgely came from many places. It cannot with certainty be stated that most of that cited in the records was used at the Mansion.

On March 10, 1783, Josias Penington billed Charles Ridgely for scantling which was apparently delivered by "Capt. Jehu Howell." The following July 7 Ridgely bought a large order of lumber from Hollingsworth & Loney of Baltimore as follows:

3351 feet Inch plank @ 15/£ 25...2...7
6041 feet Inch & Qr @ 17/652...17...0

Com @ 2/2 p C1...18...5

£ 79...18...0

On May 3, 1784, Edward Parker charged £11...9...8 for "2756 feet 7 Inches Plank." Later in the month he made an agreement with the same operator:

This 18 Day of May 1784 I have agreed wt Edward Parker to saw the bill of scantling for my large house (italics supplied by writer of this report) @ 15/ per Ct. I am to take it from his mill or pay him for haulg it to be measured side and edge agreeable to the old custom in Presents of Wm. Richardson & Wm. Dukes. (signed) C. Ridgely. [18]

On June 3, 1785, "Mr. Howel" delivered 134 feet of pine plank and 206 feet of 1-inch pine plank worth £ 3...3...11-1/2 [19] and on both October 5 and 26 there were two six-horse teams hauling plank from Baltimore. [20] On July 1 and 18, 1786, there were four-horse teams hauling "Shingle Stuff" (probably bolts for splitting) and rafters and laths. [21]

Account Book LIV carries records for a number of sawyers by name in the year 1787. It is difficult to read but is full of items like "To Sawing Sheating plank," "sawing for the mill," "Sawing Inch 1/4 popler," "Sawing for the hen house," "Sawing Joice 16 feet long," "Sawing of rafters," "Sawing Inch oke" and "Sawing for the brigs." The latter may have referred to lumber for the use of Ships' carpenters.

The Six Carpenters' Bills:

The six detailed carpenters' lists from the Ridgely Papers published by William D. Hoyt, Jr., in the Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4 (December 1938) pp. 352-371, represents a heroic job of transcription, for the original manuscripts are difficult to read. The spelling--both of Captain Ridgely and his mechanics--is partly phonetic and in some places undecipherable. The meaning of many words and phrases has been long forgotten. The writer's experience in such builders' documents suggests a number of corrections but on the whole Dr. Hoyt did a very commendable job. [22]

There follow some observations on these bills.. I have kept Dr. Hoyt's numbering but I do not believe that they are in the proper order chronologically. It will be noted that only one is dated. The true order should probably be 5-2-3-1-6. As explained below I don't believe that Document No. 4 belongs to the Mansion; it probably concerns another of the several Ridgely buildings put up in this period.

Much of the work could be called "joiners" work in the terminology of the 18th century, but its distinction from "carpenters' work" has never been clearly drawn--either in England or America.

"Bill No. 1"

Bill from Jehu Howell's estate for carpenters' and joiners' work (12 pp. unsigned and undated except for two items near the end).

From this tremendous and detailed billing which totaled £ 1815...16...9, it would appear that the exterior of the house including dormers and eaves on the roof, as well as the great "Doom" or cupola, were completed well before Howell"s death in November, 1787. A great deal of finished woodwork, both upstairs and down, as well as carpentry in the garret and cellar, is listed.

None of this would have been installed before the roof was shingled. On December 16, 1786, there is an item for "Warner" putting in windows so the roof was probably completed before then.

Other mechanics mentioned in this document are: William Richardson, Michael Shannon, Smithson & Fuller, Coffey, and Dodson (or Dotson). These men are discussed in Section G.

For the period after Howell's decease there is a great list of minor detail, mostly about the hanging of doors and shutters and the installation of hardware. Several items seem worth comment:

(1) References like "dotson's room upstairs" suggest that carpenters were assigned specific rooms to work out the trim more or less by themselves.

(2) Items for the framing and shingling of the "pantries" suggest that these were in what we now call the "hyphens."

(3) The original gutters were made of wood lined with sheet lead and shingled into the roof. (The nature of 18th-century gutters has generally been obscure; not many examples have survived).

(4) Items referring to the window frames "cut out for weight" suggest that it was decided to substitute box frames (with counterweighted sash and pullies) for plank frames during the course of the project. The familiar modern terms "double hung" and "parting strip" occur in these bills. [23]

(5) The floors were of three types--butt joint, tongue and groove "blind-nailed" and dowelled.

"Bill No. 2"

Bill from Jehu Howell's estate for carpenters' and joiners' work (3 pp., unsigned, undated). The submission of the bill was necessarily after Howell's death in November, 1787, but to narrow the period it was for work done before November 4, 1784, when Howell moved to his own quarters.

There are many items for framing the floors, part of which would have been simultaneous with the laying up of the masonry walls. Roof framing and shingling accounts for much of the bill. Included is work done on the "mane house" as well as the east and west wings. Some of the work listed is interior finish work which would hardly have been attempted before the roof was shingled.

During the period it appears that Howell boarded part of the time with Ridgely and part of the time he fed himself and carpenter Strawbridge. It also appears that Michael Shannon boarded part of the time with Ridgely (deduction of £ 48...4...7) as did Ramsey McGee (£ 60...0....0).

"Bill No. 3"

Bill to Jehu Howell from Michael Shannon (2 pp., unsigned, undated).

This is a bill for interior joinery, at least part of which was done between June 14, 1786, and June 19, 1787. Because it is unlikely that any of this interior work was attempted before the shingling of the roof it probably indicates that the latter was complete by the earlier date.

Notable items are "a Sett of Pelaster (pilasters) in Lobby" and "one Bedsted," made for the owner.

"Bill No. 4"

Bill to Captain Ridgely for carpenters' work "dun on kichen" (2 pp., unsigned, undated).

It seems likely that this short list refers to a detached or semidetached kitchen at some other place--perhaps at the house "in the Neck" as suggested by the endorsement.

An interesting item is "28 feet of hand Railes with Chenie work," evidently what we now call "Chinese Chippendale" fretwork. There is some of this on the second floor of Hampton's main porches but l see no place for it on the east or kitchen wing.

"Bill No. 5"

Memorandum by Charles Ridgely (l p., unsigned, undated).

This refers at least in part to masonry work on the chimneys evidently done by William Riddle and Thomas Green.

Interesting is the statement "Mr. Richardson in the Spring has Promosed me Shure to make my Doom bilt." This suggests a date at least as early as 1786 or 1787. [24]

"Bill No. 6"

Estimate by Henry Carlile for "Captain Ridgelys Parlor" dated November 7, 1787 (unsigned, possibly in Carlile's own handwriting). Which room of the Mansion was called "the parlor" is not known.

The endorsement in Captain Ridgely's handwriting seems to indicate that the latter made an agreement with Carlile on November 26 (a few days after Howell's death) to complete the room.

One mystery presents itself: Why did Captain Ridgely get an estimate from Henry Carlile on November 7, 1787, less than three weeks before Howell's accidental death? It is easier to understand that Ridgely accepted the estimate by express on November 26, immediately after news of Howell's death. The question might be asked, however, why others of the Howell and Richardson staff such as Shannon, McGee, Dotson, Smithson, or Fuller weren't asked to do the work.

It is probable that the various items of work can be identified in the Mansion but to do this would be a considerable research project in itself. If we had a full set of measured drawings of the interiors, the quantities could be taken off from the drawings and compared with the entries in the Hampton accounts. But even in 1970 we still lack such a record and the quantities would have to be taken directly from the woodwork of each of the rooms.

From information gathered in the study of 18th-century buildings in Philadelphia all--or nearly all--of the builders' terms used in the Ridgely manuscripts can probably be identified. [25]

F. Jehu Howell, A Very Ingenious Architect

The identification of the mechanics who worked on a project are a routine concern of the construction historian; oftentimes such research leads to important discoveries in the domain of architectural history. First of all we will consider Jehu Howell, one of the principal figures at Hampton.

The Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertisers for November 27, 1787, ran the following sad notice:

Last Friday Morning, Mr. JEHUE HOWELL, a very ingenious Architect, of Baltimore County, having Occasion to cross Patapsco River, went from this Town to the Ferry-Branch, and finding a Boat at a short Distance from the Shore, he permitted his Horse to enter the Water, at the End of the Ferry-Point, supposing it shallow--but, alas! he was fatally mistaken; for the Horse, in a few Moments, plunged into a Channel many Fathoms deep, whereby the hapless Rider soon perished, without the possibility of Relief.--This melancholy Event hath deprived an effectionate Wife of a fond Husband, and Two Children of a kind Parent.--His Body hath since been found, and respectfully interred.

At the time of the accident Jehu Howell, with William Richardson and others, had been building the Mansion, still incomplete. Howell, being "a very ingenious Architect," was likely the designer. The term "architect" was still an uncommon one in America at that time and the word generally referred to what we now call a "carpenter-architect."

A reference to Jehu Howell appears in the records of the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore when a man of that name was listed as a member in 1770, but "out of town" in 1773. [26]

On January 29, 1773, Howell's name appears in one of Captain Ridgely's daybooks. The item is only partly legible but it involved 7/6 worth of shingles. [27] There are subsequent entries with Howell's name but the greatest number appear in a tabulation at the end of the volume where it was noted that our man received an issue of one quart of rum no less than 68 times! On these same pages one Jacob Howell got twenty issues of rum and John Howell eighteen. At another point in this bibulous record appears the item "The Carpenters in General. . .2 qts."

It would appear that Captain Ridgely had a construction project under way at Northampton Furnace soon after he inherited it from his father and that in the carpenter corps he had a family of rum-drinking Presbyterians, one of whom stayed on for twelve years or more to take an important part in the building of Hampton Mansion.

The oldest document we have from Howell's hand is a letter from him to Captain Ridgely dated October 14, 1781, asking for help in collecting some money owed by Darby Lux. [28] In another letter, May 13, 1782, Howell wanted one hundred dollars from Ridgely so he could send sixty to his wife. It appears that in partnership with Richardson and one Walsh he owned over twenty thousand acres of surveyed land near Fort Pitt. At that time he had a suit against one Stevenson (?) for payment for a house worth around £ 96-100. [29] As we have seen above, Howell and Richardson had been building Captain Ridgely's house "on the Neck" before August of 1783. [30] In 1784 they seemed to have hopes of also building a courthouse for Baltimore County. [31]

Account Book XLVIII ? (Ledger, 1784-86 ?) itemizes various goods and services being provided by the Ridgely organization to Jehu Howell, his family, his household and his employees and apprentices.

We know that part of the time while work was in progress at the Mansion Howell boarded with Captain Ridgely and part of the time he boarded himself. On November 4, 1784, Howell was charged with a half-day's use of a four-horse team to remove his "wife & Furniture." Whose wife and from where to where is not specified but the distance obviously could not have been great. Ledger G (WH) shows that in 1787 Howell was billed £ 45 for three years rent of "House & Garden," which would have exactly covered the interval until his death. A charge for one plow horse for one-third of a day in the spring of 1785 suggests that he was cultivating a garden alongside a tenant house. [32]

Wood, candles, salt, bacon, beef, game, "purtators," corn flour, turnips, cider, wine and rum were among the items received in lieu of cash. Certain entries revealling details of Howell's household and of his own crew of builders are worth noting here:


Jehu Howell, Dr.
March2To 1 p.r Shoes for Staybridge0..10...0
June19To Cash for Ramsey McGee6...0...0
June20To 1 p.r Shoes for Staybridge...0..10...0
Sept18To Cash to Ramsey McGee20..16...0
Sept18To Cash to Phillips1..17...6
Sept29To Cash by Straybridge1..12...6
Oct2To Cash to Ramsey McGee...5...5...0
Oct9To Jacob Howel Board...


Jehu Howell, Dr.
Nov55 To 1/2 days work p.r french John.y0...l...3
Dec31To one pair of Shoes to your housekeper potley worn0...8...0
Jan5To 8 Carts Lods of Whod---
Feb26To 1 p.r mended Shoes for your housekeper0...3...0
March9To 1 p.r of Shoes for your Boy0..10...0
April21To 1 Bushel of flacksceed7...6
Jan7To 1 p.r of Shoes for Robbord Strobgard 1 p.r Shoes mended for Mis Polley11...6
Jan7To 1/3 day holling Logs and Straw12...6
Sept20To 1 qt of Rum for wornor1...6
Sept26To 1 p.r of Shoes for your prentis Gorg millemen (apprentice George Milleman)0..11...0
Nov5To 1 p.r of Shoes for dotson0..11..0
Nov8(bacon to Shannon)
Nov88 Bushels Brand shorts for dotson4...8
Dec1To 9-1/2 lb of superfin flower for Michel Shannon0...2..11
Dec6To 1 p.r of Shoes Sold your prentis whornor (apprentice Warner)0...3...0
Dec6To 1 peck of Corn for Michael Shannon1...3
Dec14To 3 qts of Rum Michael Shannon at 1/64...6
Dec14To the oxcart 2/3 of a day halling Rales to the Bilding6...0
Dec30To 1 pr of Shoes for your Housekeeper0...8...0
Jan10To 1 p.r of Shoes for Richard pearl0..11...0
Jan11To 1 Bushel of Brand for John dotson1...2
Jan12To 5lb of Bacon for Smitson0...5...0
Jan12To 5-3/4 lb of Bacon for Fullor0...5...9
Jan17To 1 p.r of Shoes for Gorg your prentis0..11...0

In the records a certain number of documents remain from the closing of Howell's estate. They show that on March 3, 1788, Joseph Wheeler and Benjamin Bowing were appointed to appraise the goods and chattels. Their list was made on May 24 and on June 19 Margery Howell, Acting Administratrix (and presumably the widow), swore to its accuracy. The list is not a long one and it consists mainly of ordinary household items. A parcel of old carpenter's tools valued at £ 4.2s.6d seems to have been all of the professional equipment left by the builder.

There was also "a parcel of old books" at £ 1.10s0d. We could wish that the titles of the books had been recorded; they might have suggested some published sources for the designs of Hampton's interior woodwork. [33] No original Hampton drawings are referred to anywhere, nor have any contemporary references to the origin of the architectural design come down to us. Yet they must have existed, when construction began, and it seems very likely that Howell drew them.

This report assembles what has been discovered of Howell so far. Undoubtedly, much more can be found. It would be interesting to know where he got his training. This writer would not be surprised if Howell came from the Philadelphia area. He seems to have owned land near Pittsburgh; this may have been a veteran's bonus for military service. This writer guesses that further research will identify this man.

G. Other Carpenters and Tradesmen

Besides Jehu Howell no less than seventeen other carpenters were active on the Ridgely enterprises in the years the Mansion was built. Some men were closely associated with Howell and Richardson as journeymen and apprentices. In other cases the relationship, if any, is not clear. The men are listed alphbetically below.

1. Henry Bateson

Bateson is identified as a carpenter in the account books between July 23, 1784, and January 10, 1787. From the nature of the supplies got from Captain Ridgely he evidently was a family man who kept a garden and bought shoes, food and drink as needed. [34] His name is not connected with Jehu Howell--or work on the Mansion--in any references so far noted.

2. Henry Carlile

On November 7, 1787, shortly before Jehu Howell's death, one Henry Carlile submitted a detailed estimate for trimming out "Capt. Ridgelys Parlor" totaling £ 100...0...4. From this he subtracted one-sixth or £ 16...13...4-1/2 "for Mr. Howel," apparently planning to board with the latter at the established percentage. On November 26, shortly after Howell's death, Ridgely apparently sent an express message to engage Carlile for further work but I have seen no evidence that any agreement was actually made. [35]

3. ----- Coffey

In Carpenters' Bill No. 1 is this passage "he must make a Reduction for the Inside Shottors and back Laps Coffey made as we have Counted the said to you as if you had finished the whole." [36] This passage suggests that a carpenter named Coffey executed some of the finished woodwork about 1786-7. The name was not noted elsewhere in the Hampton records.

4. John Dotson

Dotson appears as early as January 5, 1785, in the records of the Ridgely store [37] and six days later in Jehu Howell's account when he bought a bushel of bran. [38] Dotson was assigned to do the trim in what were called "Dotson's North Room" and "Dotson's South Room" on the first floor. [39] Most of his work seems to have been completed by the time of Howell's death. The fitting, hanging and adjusting of the doors, windows and shutters were the principal items. [40] He also paid 10s for "making a well Cerb." [41]

5. Robert Guttery

The name of this man appears once as a carpenter when he was paid £ 3 on January 31, 1785. [42] The nature of the work was not specified. His name is not connected with Jehu Howell--or work on the Mansion--in any references so far noted.

6. Jacob Howell

As we have seen above, Jacob Howell, quite possibly a relative of Jehu's, was working (or at least drinking) at Captain Ridgely's plantation just before the Revolutionary War. Ledger E (fo. 92) shows that Jacob by October 9, 1784, had consumed £ 47...13...0-1/2 worth of board "from the time he began to work by the Day," that this account was settled by Jehu Howell and that in the period January 4 - October 21, 1784, he performed " some work on the Great house" as well as work done on a "Kitchg & wash House" elsewhere on the Ridgely properties. The total of work was recorded as £ 143...4...5 of which part was paid direct by Jehu Howell. Subtracted from this large sum was "1 Shingling hammer" valued at five shillings (fo.83).

Why Jacob Howell's services were discontinued does not appear.

7. John McClure

Historian Bienvenu names McClure as a carpenter working on the Mansion. [43] He is mentioned in Account Book XLVII in the period 1784-85. On May 16, 1785, there is the unexplained McClure item connected with Jehu Howell "to so much for takeg up your house. . .£ 3...14...9" and later a payment of £ 40... [44]

Account Book XLII shows that McClure did a small amount of work "at Furnace" along with Howell and Richardson who were heavily involved with the Mansion at that time. [45]

8. Ramsey McGee

McGee appears in the Ridgely account books as early as June 19, 1784, when he received £ 6 cash. [46] Items such as "2 pr of Shoes for your children" [47] and a pair of "Negro Shoes" [48] suggest that he was a family man with a colored servant. Other entries for food and drink were few and suggest that the McGees were either living very simply or were shopping in Baltimore.

Carpenters' Bill No. 2 [49] shows that McGee did £ 60 worth of work while boarding with Captain Ridgely. McGee does not seem to appear in the account books after April 14, 1786. [50] It may be that he was employed only for rough work with the finishing work reserved for others more skilled.

9. George Milleman

Ridgely's account with Jehu Howell mentions (September 26, 1786) buying a pair of shoes at 11s for "your prentis Gorge Milleman," [51] an item which was repeated the following January 17. [52]

How long Milleman remained at Hampton we do not know. He later appears as the architect of the new Baltimore Court House in 1809. [53] It may well be that the design and construction of Hampton served as his professional education.

10. John Noland

There is a single reference (March 31, 1789) to carpenter John Noland in Account Book LVII. It is not known that he worked on the Mansion.

11. Richard Pearl

Pearl appears in Carpenters' Bill No. 1 as December 16, 1786, for "making Loom Roods," [54] whatever they are. Jehu Howell's accounts on January 10, 1787, mention that Pearl bought a pair of shoes for 11 shillings. [55] No further mentions were noted.

12. William Richardson

William Richardson came to Hampton as a partner of Jehu Howell (q.v.). His name does not appear in the account books frequently and there is no indication that he was much in residence there. It is possible that he lived in Baltimore and only visited Hampton, with Howell as the partner in residence. This man is sometimes referred to as "Captain" William Richardson. There were a number of men by that name in the Revolutionary War rolls of Maryland but none of these leads were followed up by the writer.

In Carpenters' Bills No. 1 and 2, it appears that Richardson specifically did the frames for eight dormer windows and a small part of the cornice work. I have not been able to attribute any other parts of the construction to him.

In the Ridgely account books Richardson appears from a least the period beginning July 2, 1783, (request for a loan of ten pounds) [56] to May 6, 1786. He was a signer of the constitution of the Carpenters' Society of Baltimore in 1791. There are entries in a Ridgely account book for him in May of that year for shoes both for himself and for his horse. [57]

13. Michael Shannon

Shannon worked on Hampton in the first period, when he earned the large sum of £ 108...4...7 from which £ 48...4...7 was to be deducted for board. [58] He was evidently a journeyman carpenter working under the direction of Jehu Howell (q.v.); their affairs are entwined in the Ridgely account books.

On December 1, 1786, Shannon got 9-1/2 pounds of superfine flour [59] and five days later a peck of corn. [60] In the second period he did elaborate work in the "Hall Rooms" upstairs [61] as well as "a Sett of Pelaster in Lobby" and "180 pannels in Pantry." [62] During the period October 11-December 27, 1787, he was building a kitchen for the Captain's three-story townhouse on Gay Street, Baltimore, for which he was to receive £ 36...8..7 [63]

The Federal census of 1790 shows Shannon living in Baltimore Town with a family of ten. [64] The following year he subscribed to the Constitution of the Carpenters Society of Baltimore.

14. Robert Strawbridge

Captain Ridgely had a bad time spelling Robert Strawbridge's name: it comes out as "Strybridge," "Staybridge," "Strobgard," "Strobbge," and other variants. In the books he appears as early as March 2, 1783, in Jehu Howell's account for a pair of shoes at ten shillings. [65] Whether he was an apprentice, a journeyman or only a helper doesn't appear. Strawbridge was a steady consumer of shoes, the last pair being purchased on October 23, 1786. [66] He is mentioned finally in the settlement of Howell's estate on or after 1787 when it was states (Bill No. 2) that "there aught to be alowanc made Mr Howell for abording himself and Strawbridge when doing part of the above work." [67]

15. and 16. Smithson and Fuller

These men (first names not ascertained) appear to have worked in unison. Their names always appear together--even on January 10, 1787, when, according to Howell's account, the former bought five pounds of bacon and the latter five and three-quarters pounds. [68] The accounts show that these men trimmed out in an elaborate way a "South Room" and a "North Room upstairs," whichever ones they were. [69] After Howell's death they completed the work on eight windows and hung two doors, installing locks on same. [70]

17. John Warner

Warner appears in the records as an apprentice carpenter on September 20, 1786, when he got a quart of rum for ls 6d. [71] On December 1 he got a pair of shoes for three shillings. [72] On December 16, 1786, Warner did 3/4 day's work installing windows. [73]

Turner's Work:

Ledger G [74] shows that William Phillips, turner, in addition to making chairs, tables, spinning wheels and cogs for machinery, also did architectural work for Ridgely. The following Phillips items have been noted:

April2By his [Phillips'] Acct for work Done on the New Bildg to this day12..18...1

By his Acct for Sundrys for house & mill to this Day5...1..10
Sept. 17 By Turng 8 Caps for Doom [75]2...5...0
By turng 4 Nuel post [76] & five Drops [77]3...5...

In return Phillips got cash, flour and rum from the.plantation stores.

Other Trades:

So far undiscovered in the Ridgely Papers are the bills for interior plastering and for painting. The work may have been done by slave labor and not charged on the company books.

The only record of glazing found is in Ledger I.P. No. 1. On December 19, 1786 there is an entry for cutting glass (1s.) and glazing (£ 1/7/7-1/2) by one John Supp, glazier. In return Supp drew flour, beef, and bacon from the company stores.

Hampton has double-hung windows, and, as might be expected, the weights were cast on the place. In Account Book LI there is an item dated September 30, 1786, for eight sash weights weighing 66 lbs. billed to Captain Charles Ridgely at 6d per lb. or £ 1...2...0 and more in the following year. Presumably, they were used in the Mansion.

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Last Updated: 07-Jul-2008