Charles Carnan Ridgely

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

NPS

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 an act that surprised many of his family members, the General included instructions in his will for the gradual emancipation of a large segment of Hampton’s enslaved population, an act that eventually freed more than 300 enslaved persons.

Last updated: June 24, 2020

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