A Hampton Chronology


1695: Henry Darnall, cousin of Lord Baltimore, is granted the Hampton property.

1745: Colonel Charles Ridgely buys 1,500 acres of Northampton from Darnall's daughter, Ann Hill. He expands his holdings to 11,000 acres.

1760: Charles Ridgely, Jr., known as the Captain, receives Northampton tract from his father. Colonel Ridgely, with sons Charles and John, establishes ironworks on a tributary of the Gunpowder River.

1775--83. Revolutionary War. Ridgely ironworks supply arms and implements to the Patriot cause.

1783: Captain Ridgely begins construction of mansion. Ridgely holdings grow to 24,000 acres.

1790: Captain's nephew Charles Carnan Ridgely inherits 12,000 acres and two-thirds of ironworks. That year his son John is born in the mansion.

1790--1829: Ridgely's empire grows to 25,000 acres with ironworks, grain crops, beef cattle, thoroughbred horses, coal mining, marble quarries, mills, and mercantile interests. In 1815 Ridgely is elected Governor of Maryland.

1828: John Carnan Ridgely marries Eliza Eichelberger Ridgely (no relation.) John inherits the house and 4,500 acres in 1829, remainder of the property is split among other heirs. The Governor's will also frees most of his 300-plus slaves.

1861--65: Civil War. The end of slavery (1864 in Maryland) and economic hardships begin Hampton's decline.

1867: John and Eliza's son Charles, who had managed the estate for almost two decades, inherits the property.

1872: House and remaining 1,000 acres go to son "Captain John" Ridgely upon the death of Charles. In the 1880s John's mother Margaretta Sophia Howard Ridgely oversees major renovations to the mansion.

1938: John Ridgely Jr. inherits core of Hampton property and resides in mansion with family.

1948: Based on outstanding architectural merit, mansion and 43 acres are designated a national historic site. John Ridgely Jr. and his wife continue to live at Hampton, residing in the farmhouse, mansion is opened for tours.

1979: National Park Service takes over administration of the mansion and 60 acres.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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