Charles Carnan Ridgely

Painting of Charles Carnan Ridgely
Charles Carnan Ridgely by C. G. Stapko after Thomas Sully.


Nephew of the childless Captain Charles Ridgely, Charles Ridgely Carnan (1760-1829) inherited the largest portion of Hampton's land and business concerns on condition that he take Ridgely as his surname. Charles Carnan Ridgely served in the Maryland Legislature and as Governor of Maryland from 1815-1818. He was also known as General Ridgely, having been appointed a brigadier general in the state militia in 1796. He married Priscilla Dorsey Ridgely and they had fourteen children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood.

As second owner of the estate, he expanded on his inheritance, acquiring additional agricultural acreage and ironworks, and increasing the estate and its profitability. Hampton became a showplace renowned for its physical beauty, the quality of its agriculture and livestock, and its owner’s opulent entertaining. He took a great interest in thoroughbred racing and breeding and was said in his day to be “very famous for racehorses.”

In his codicil (added clause) to his will Charles Carnan Ridgely included instructions for the gradual emancipation of a large segment of Hampton’s enslaved population, an act that eventually freed more than 350 enslaved people. The codicil to his will was written on April 28, 1828, just 10 days after his daughter Sophia’s untimely death. According to various sources, one of the main influences of Carnan Ridgely's codicil of his will was because of his daughter, Sophia. In this addition to his will, he freed the enslaved people of certain ages immediately, women ages 25-45 with their children two and under and men 28-45. Those children older than two years of age and younger than 25 or 28 could not leave with their parents, tragically splitting up families.




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Last updated: April 12, 2024

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535 Hampton Lane
Towson, MD 21286


410-962-4290 (option 2)

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