Captain Charles Ridgely

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By John Hesselius

Captain Charles Ridgely (1733-1790) was the builder and first master of Hampton. A ship’s captain in his early career (note the telescope depicted in his hand), he retired from the sea and assumed control of the family iron business in 1763. He also operated a mercantile business in Baltimore Town; owned vast farms and plantations cultivating grain and vegetable crops; bred cattle, pigs, and thoroughbred horses; planted commercial orchards; and operated mills and quarries. Profits from his Northampton ironworks during the Revolutionary War and from confiscated Loyalist properties helped fund the building of ┬áRidgely’s “house in the forest” beginning in 1783. Captain Ridgely had resided there for little over a year at the time of his death.

Oil on canvas. H 76.2, W 63.5 cm
Hampton National Historic Site, HAMP 1144