John Carnan Ridgely

Painting of John Carnan Ridgely.
John Carnan Ridgely by Thomas Sully.


Third owner of Hampton estate, John Carnan Ridgely (1790-1867), was the first member of the family born in the mansion and the last member of the family to enslave people. His father was Charles Carnan Ridgely and his mother was Priscilla Dorsey Ridgely. John inherited a plantation with no enslaved labor, due to the terms of his father's will. In partnership with his second wife, Eliza, he decided to rebuild the agricultural plantation system and purchased 61 enslaved people. One of the many people John enslaved was a 17-year-old girl named Harriet Hawkins, who John sexually assaulted in the mid-1820s, when he was about 34 years old. This assault resulted in the birth of John’s enslaved son, Charles Hale Brown.

After spending significant money to buy back enslaved people, animals, farming tools and laborers to work the land at Hampton, John Ridgely spent more funds and attention on the mansion, grounds and farm, introducing modern conveniences such as plumbing, gas lighting and “central heating” to the mansion. Less engaged in politics and civic endeavors than his father, he focused his attentions on the estate and was said to have “a great passion for horses and the outdoor life.” John and Eliza’s love of music, travel and collecting is still evident in the mansion today.




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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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