Captain Charles Ridgely
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 Ridgely’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