This page tells the story only of our branch of the Ridgely family of Maryland and their immediate families: immigrant Robert, his son Charles, third generation Charles, and fourth generation daughter Achsah. I am hopeful that readers may be able to provide more information about them. If you have corrections or additions, especially if you have documentation, I would be very grateful if you would e mail me at .
As was so often the case in the seventeenth century, there were spelling variations of this family's name. But one genealogist points out that our branch tended to spelled it Ridgely, while Col. Henry and his sons William and Charles more often used Ridgley. However, in this page I will use the former spelling for all of them, which is what I believe all their twentieth-century descendants use.
Our Robert Ridgely1, died in 1681, and was married to Martha. Some accounts hold that he emigrated from England on the Assurance in 1634/5, and settled in St. Mary's County, Maryland. Since he named one his plantations "Belleau", which is the name of a parish in Lincolnshire, Robert, or one or both of his parents, may have come from that area of England. But this date of arrival seems highly unlikely to be the man who married in ca. 1671, and the place of origin is just conjecture. Instead it appears that Robert arrived in Maryland in 1671, although in spite of the lack of records, it seems to me likely that he was in Maryland perhaps a decade earlier, then returned to England and came back with Martha (__) in 1671.[2a]
Robert's wife Martha's surname is not known, although some genealogists claim it may have been Patterson. She may have been the sister of Sarah (Patterson) Clagett who was called the "aunt" of Martha's daughter. More on that later, including arguments against the hypothesis. A descendant claims Martha's surname was SMITH.[2b] In 1671 Robert brought Martha to Maryland, probably marrying her after she arrived. The records are vague.
Robert Ridgely began his public career in 1664. Robert succeeded Cecilius LANGFORD as Clerk of the Council, a position he held until 1669, when Sir William TALBOT, Secretary of the Province, selected him to be Deputy Secretary in Talbot's absence. He maintained this position until Lord Baltimore revoked Talbot's commission and appointed his own nephew, William CALVERT, on 16 March 1673. Robert was Clerk of the Lower House of the Maryland Assembly from 1671 to November 1681. He served as examiner of the High Court of Chancery, and as a probate judge. He was keeper of the lesser seals for the province.
Land acquisitions by Robert Ridgely included 1,200 acre "Little Belleau", on Lord Baltimore's Rent Roll for Somerset County. Robert also acquired a patent for 500 acres called "Timberly", rights in 1680 to land in St. Mary's County, and a grant of "Gallow's Greene" from Lord Baltimore. Although his law offices were there in St. Mary's City, his "dwelling plantation" was on St. Inigoe's Creek, and it was here that Martha held sway.
A random glance at court records indicates Robert played his part in testifiying to wills. He testified 23 May 1673 to the will of Thomas PAINE of St. Jerome's in St. Mary's County. He performed the same duty 16 September 1676 for the will of John CONNINGHAM of Glasgow, Scotland, who apparently died while in Maryland. He inherited personalty from Margaret PENROY of Charles County in November 1676.
Robert wrote his will 20 December 1680, describing himself "of Hampton", Baltimore County, witnessed by Anthony UNDERWOOD and Daniel CLOCKER, who, along with William TAYLOR, testified to it. It was probated 24 December 1681. He named his wife Martha executrix, and bequeathed her 1,200 acre "Little Beleau" along with land in Somerset County. His land bequests to his children are given below. Non real estate bequests were made to his only daughter Martha and to William STEVENS and his wife Elizabeth of Somerset County. Robert specified that his children were to be educated "according to the canons of the Church of England". William Stevens and Christopher ROUSBY were named overseers. The personalty of his plantation on the Wicomico was appraised 13 February 1681/2 as worth 24,828 pounds of tobacco. It included three white indentured servants. But perhaps the most interesting thing about Robert's estate inventory was the list of debts. There were 106 named, including what appeared to be two firms, "the Publick", four women, and perhaps one Native American, Corney CROW. One was our ancestor, John ADDISON. There were also his legal friend, Robert CARVILE. In a society that paid close attention to titles, there were five colonels, a major, one Esquire, and a Doctor.
Martha was apparently not without comfort in this time of bereavement. Anthony UNDERWOOD (1659-ca. 1689), Robert's assistant, who witnessed his will, petitioned 1 March 1681/2 to be admitted to the Maryland Bar. Underwood said he had clerked for Edward DOBSON of Gray's Inn, a Counselor at Law in England for several years before serving Robert Ridgely. He had been transported in 1678 as an indentured servant, becoming free by 1681/2. As lawyers had to be freemen, Martha signed a paper attesting to his status as a freeman.[10a] In the class conscious circles to which he aspired, Anthony was styled a Gentleman by 1682.
Martha married Anthony Underwood probably in 1684. Like so much about Robert and Martha, the date is elusive, one (presumably erroneous) source suggests she and Anthony were married "by 1680" which was before Robert's death.
Anthony died in the late spring of 1691, leaving Martha a very wealthy widow for a second time.
Martha's third husband, jumping at the opportunity to comfort a wealthy widow, was Charles CARROLL (1660-1720). They were married by 10 February 1692/3, the date when he filed the final administration of Anthony's estate. Debts owed to the estate totalled 566,346 lbs. of tobacco, plus a balance of £722.1.0.
Charles was Catholic, and he placed his step-daughter Martha Ridgely in a Roman Catholic institutin. The record is not clear if this was a boarding school, catechism class, or something else. On 2 December 1692 her godfather John LLEWELLEN petitioned the Court because Charles's action was in direct defiance of Martha's father's will. The Court agreed, and sent Martha to live with her "aunt" Mrs. Sarah CLAGETT until she became of age and could select her own guardian. On 26 April 1693 Capt. Thomas Clagett gave security as her guardian. Sarah PATTERSON was the second wife of Thomas, and Patterson was more likely the surname of her first husband than her maiden name. Since her maiden surname is probably unknown, we do not know if she was the sister of Charles Ridgely or of Martha (__) Ridgely. Although it is very tempting to assume that the Clagetts were the parents of the second husband of Martha's brother's wife Deborah (DORSEY) in 1706/7, I can find no proof of the connection.
Martha is said to have died in 1695, although it must have been sooner if Charles's next marriage, to Mary Darnall (1678-1742) took place 14 February 1693. Mary Darnall was the daughter of Henry Darnall and his first wife, whose step-mother was Elinor (Hatton) Brooke Darnall. Charles Carroll died in 1720.
Children of Robert and Martha (order uncertain, may be incomplete):
a) Robert Ridgely3,
b) William Ridgely, m. Elizabeth DUVALL
c) Charles Ridgely,
d) Sarah Ridgely,
e) Nicholas Ridgely,
f) Mary Ridgely,
g) Deborah Ridgely,
h) Elizabeth Ridgely, m(2) William GOLDSMITH.
Child of Martha (__) Ridgely and Anthony Underwood:
Child of Martha (__) Ridgely Underwood and Charles Carroll:
Charles Ridgely2, son of Robert and Martha, was born in St. Inigoe's Parish, St. Mary's County, on 20 December 1680, and died in 1705. He was an infant when his father died, and only ten when his first step-father, Anthony UNDERWOOD died. Charles married Deborah DORSEY, daughter of the Hon. John Dorsey and his wife Pleasance (ELY). He inherited from his father "General Gift" and "Timberly" at the head of the Patuxent in Calvert County. In 1695 it became part of the newly formed Prince George's County.
Charles was mentioned in the 1703/4 will of his son-in-law, Capt. John HOWARD, but not in the 1705 will of his grandfather, indicating that he probably died between the writing of those two wills. He left four white indentured servants and four Negro slaves. His estate administration was filed by Deborah on 14 October 1705, with a balance of £310.0.1, and £54.4.3 paid to Charles CARROLL for a debt owed to him.
After Charles's death, Deborah lived with her parents in Baltimore County. Her two sons inherited Charles's 1,400 acre "White Wine and Claret" on the Great Fork of the Patuxent River in Howard County. It had belonged to Deborah's father and presumably under femme covert passed to Charles. The tract was on the west side of Charles Carroll's plantation, "Doughoregan". However, Charles Carroll Sr. (1702-1782) built Doughoregan manor somewhat later. He was the son of Charles Carroll (1660-1720), whose step mother-in-law was Elinor (Hatton) Brooke. There were a great many men named Charles Carroll and it can be confusing.
Deborah married secondly 7 April 1706/7 Richard CLAGETT (1681-1752). She removed to his place at "Croome" a large estate in Prince George's County. Richard was on the tax list for Mt. Calvert Hundred, Prince George's County, in 1733. They had six children.
Deborah probably died before 27 October 1752 when Richard wrote his will and did not mention her. It was proved 7 December 1752.
Children of Charles and Deborah (Dorsey), probably all born in Prince George's County:
a) Margaret Ridgely, b. 1724; m. 1755 Samuel FARMER (b. 1715, son of Samuel Farmer & Sarah Duvall).
b) Samuel Ridgely, "the batchelor";
c) Martha Ridgely, b. 1728; d. 11/7/1797; m. Henry Chew Gaither (5/24/1724-8/1783) son of Benjamin Chew? Gaither (1681-1738) & Sarah Burges (1694-1769); served as Justice of the Peace; 14 children.
d) Deborah Ridgely, b. 1730; m. Lancelot DORSEY, son of Edward Dorsey & Sarah Todd; resided at "Altogether" near Clarksville.
e) Sarah Ridgely
f) Amelia Ridgely
g) John Ridgely
h) William Ridgely, Jr., b. 1743; d. 1822; m. 1771 in Anne Arundel Co. Elizabeth DORSEY, daughter of Capt. Philemon Dorsey (b. 1715) and Katherine Ridgely (1723-1750), and they had 7 children whose birth dates range from 1765 to 1779 so something does not compute.
i) Asenah Ridgely, b. 1743; d. 1763 died in Anne Arundel Co.
j) Ann Ridgely, b. 1745; d. 1801; m. Capt. Brice HOWARD, b. 1740; d. 1799, son of Cornelius Howard & Rachel Ridgely Worthington; 4 children.
k) Eleanor Ridgely, b. 1747 in Prince George's Co.; d. 1/2/1801 in Howard Co.; m. 1745 Ensign Thomas Cornelius Howard in Anne Arundel Co. (son of Cornelius Howard & Rachel Ridgely Worthington); 9 children.
l) Charles Ridgely, b. 3m/25/1749 in Anne Arundel Co.; m. 3m/22/1774 Ruth NORWOOD, daughter of Samuel (son of Edward Norwood and Ruth OWINGS, she is said to be the daughter of Capt. Richard Owings & Susanna Bankson). He was called Charles "Blackhead" to differentiate him from his cousin Charles Ridgely. Charles built "Springfield" on the upper tract of "White Wine & Claret" near Clarksville. He spent 27 years in the Maryland House and was Speaker several sessions.
m) Rachel Ridgely, b. 1751 in Anne Arundel Co.; d. 1807; m. Joseph HOWARD, son of Cornelius Howard (1745-1/2/1801 in Howard Co.) & Rachel Ridgely Worthington; 6 children.
n) Delilah Ridgely, b. 1753; d. 1798.
o) Elizabeth Ridgely, b. 1755; d. 1782; m. Aquila DUVALL (1712-1764) son of Lewis Duvall & Eleanor Farmer; 2 sons.
Children of Deborah and her second husband, Richard Clagett:
Charles Ridgely3, son of Charles and Deborah (DORSEY), was born about 1702 or as late as 1705 in Prince George's County, and died in 1772 in Baltimore County. He was quite young when his father died, and he spent part of his youth under the care of his step-father, Richard CLAGETT. In 1715 Charles inherited from his grandfather, John DORSEY, a Negro boy named Saxon, and when he reached the age of twenty one, four cows and calves and £30 sterling. One wonders what the relationship was between the young European boy and the African boy whom he owned; it is also interesting that he was given a human right away, but not deemed mature enough to have ownership of the cows, calves, and cash until he was twenty one.
Charles married first at the age of nineteen (or even younger) in 1721 or ca. 1722 (at least by 1724) Rachel Howard, daughter of John and his wife Mary (Warfield) Howard. She, also, had suffered the death of her father when she was quite young. Her uncles Richard and Alexander Warfield served in the Maryland legislature. In 1725 the young couple resided on "Timber Neck", half of which Rachel had inherited from her father in 1704.
Col. Charles and his brother William together inherited from their grandfather John DORSEY 1,400 acre "White Wine and Claret". It was located between the Snowden and Middle Rivers in the area of Clarksville, straddling current route 108, north of Highland, in what is now Howard County. They had it resurveyed in 1735 to include some surplus adjacent land, bringing it to 2,145 acres. On 16 May 1742 they divided it, with Charles taking the "Upper Body". In 1750 he owned a 103 acre part of "Rich Neck" along with other lands. Eventually he owned 8,069 acres in Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties, including 1,162 in the latter County inherited from his grandfather. He had the land repatented in 1735. Charles was obviously an extensive landowner and was recognized as a planter by 1732. But he acquired his wealth through mortgages on landed estates and liens on personal property. He also had other economic interests. By 1736 he was a merchant. He purchased tobacco, crops, livestock, and slaves between 1736 and the 1740s in Anne Arundel County, though his base of operations was mostly in Baltimore County. Charles bought part of a tanyard in April 1743 from William BAKER, Sr. In 1745 Charles bought 1,500 acres of "Northampton" from Ann HILL, the daughter of Henry DARNELL, cousin of Lord Baltimore who had made the original grant in 1695 to Darnell. On his 316 acres in Northampton, which were surveyed in 1758, he opened iron mines and established furnaces. He seems to have given the rest of "Northampton" to his son, Charles. Both adult sons, Charles and John, worked with their father, Col. Charles, to establish an ironworks on a tributary of the Gunpowder River. By 1761 Charles was known as an ironmaster. The Northampton Ironworks included a furnace on Patterson (Peterson's) Run and forges at Long Cam near Gunpowder Falls. I was told that if you drive north from Hampton Lane on Dulany Valley Road to the fire break, and hike in, you can find stone foundations of some of the iron foundries. I haven't tried that, but we did find a few foundation walls of Long Cam. Between November 1763 and April 1764 the firm shipped over £1,858 worth of pig and bar iron to London. On 15 July 1770 Charles Sr. and Charles Jr. of Baltimore County, Ironmasters, petitioned the Council for aid in recovery of two vessels of iron that had been seized and taken to Virginia.
Charles was probably an Anglican. In any event, he served on St. Paul's Parish Vestry in Baltimore County in 1728-30/1 and 1736-38/9. He served as churchwarden in 1732-32/3 and 1735-35/6.
Rachel died in 1750. Charles married for the second time Elizabeth ___. He married for a third time, Lydia WARFIELD, daughter of Richard Warfield (ca. 1677-1755), and widow of Samuel STRINGER (d. 1747), of Queen Caroline Parish, Anne Arundel County, after negotiating a prenuptial contract with her. Samuel left Lydia his dwelling plantation, part of "Warfield's Contrivance", "Hobbs' Park", and "Stringer's Addition" as long as she lived, but then they were to go to her son Richard STRINGER. Lydia was a first cousin of Rachel Howard, and sister-in-law of Mary (Warfield) Howard.
Charles died in Northampton, Baltimore County, in 1772. His will was dated 1 April 1772, and proved 8 June 1772. In it he directed that his daughters Achsah and Pleasance, and Darby LUX on behalf of Rachel, should each pay his widow Lydia £15 annually. Daniel CHAMIER (Achsah's third husband), Charles Ridgely (his son), and William GOODWIN (Pleasance's son) were named executors. Charles bequeathed three unnamed Negro human beings to his daughter Achsah. At Achsah's death, one was to become the property of Charles's grand daughter Elizabeth CARNAN, one to his grand daughter Prudence (Carnan) GOUGH, and one to his grandson Charles R. CARNAN.
Charles was a wealthy man. His wearing apparel alone was valued at £26.12.4. He had a gold watch, silver shoe buckles, silver buttons, knee buckles, and spectacles. He also owned a Bible and dictionary. His cellar was well stocked with 125 gallons of whiskey, twenty-five gallons of rum, eleven bottles of canary wine, 115 bottles of red port wine, seven gallons of Lisbon wine, and eleven hogsheads of cider. At his dwelling house he owned thirty-six Negro slaves and three white indentured servants. At the Furnace there were four white servants, two Negroes, and ten other indentured servants. The inventory was approved by William Ridgely (son of John) and Deborah STERRET as kin, and by his grandson, J. R. Holliday and Charles's widow, Lydia (Warfield) Stringer Ridgely as his two largest creditors. His estate was valued at £6,285.16.9 current money, and included 121 oz. of plate, 6,300 acres in Baltimore County, one third interest in the Ironworks valued at £322.9.3, and £603.0.0 worth of goods shipped by London merchants. When the debts were all settled, the final balance was £4,367.13.6. The final accounts were not filed until after the War, in 1788.
Children of Charles and Rachel (Howard) Ridgely, all born in Prince George's Co., Md.:
Children of Charles's third wife, Lydia (Warfield) and her first husband, Samuel Stringer:
Achsah Ridgely4, daughter of Charles and Rachel (Howard) Ridgely, was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, 22 April or July 1729, and died 12 March or August 1785.
On 27 December 1735 her father gave her "Wilkenson's Lott", which consisted of 89 acres, along with a part of "Ridgely's Whim" and "Taylor's Purchase". At the age of fifteen she married Robert Holliday, a surgeon. He died in 1745 shortly before the birth of their first child, leaving her a sixteen-year-old widow. Although he left everything to her during her life, entailed to descend to his son, Achsah told the court she refused to abide by the will. She would legally have nothing after her son came of age.
Achsah then married John CARNAN, born in 1728, son of Charles of Reading, Berkshire, and later London, England, and his wife Prudence.
John and Achsah had a son, Charles Ridgely Carnan, and two or three daughters. John and Achsah patented 475 acre "Huntingdon" adjacent to Baltimore Town in 1761. In the early 1780s the land was divided into lots and leased by their daughters and their husbands, Prudence and Harry GOUGH and Elizabeth and Thomas ONION. Harry bought it in 1790 and sold off small parcels for the next fifteen years.
John died 1 June 1767. Achsah filed the inventory of his estate 14 May 1765. (The dates don't compute; one must be wrong.) It was valued at £217.14.11, and included a watch, silver plate, silver shoe buckles, two Negroes, and an improved lot in Baltimore Town. Christopher CARNAN and Cecil Carnan approved as both kin and major creditors.
Achsah's father died in 1772 and she received from him enslaved Negroes at the foundry, one ninth of Northampton Furnace, a third of "Boreing Forest" and "Bosley's Delight". She also inherited three additional enslaved Negroes who were entailed to her children, after her death. This practice of bequeathing enslaved people and entailing them to a succeeding generation guaranteed that families would be broken up.
In 1775 Achsah's daughter Prudence and husband Harry GOUGH converted to Methodism and left the Anglican church. Prudence and Harry were members of the first Methodist class in Baltimore. The family is mentioned in Francis Asbury's diary for its religious fervor and hospitality. Achsah may have joined, also; she was at least sympathetic. She left Frances ASBURY £30 in her will in 1785.
Achsah married thirdly Daniel CHAMIER, who had been appointed by trustees to settle all claims in Maryland against Charles Ridgely's estate. He was said to be a Tory merchant in Baltimore. But he is not listed in the standard study of Loyalists.
Achsah died 12 March 1785. In her will, dated 18 June 1785, Achsah left "all those lands lying in Baltimore County, called New Hibernia, and the resurvey thereon, called Jotham, devised to me by my husband Daniel" to her son John Robert Holliday. Her daughter Prudence GOUGH was left Achsah's gold watch, chains and seals, four silver goblets, and £500. Her daughter Elizabeth ONION got £1,000, "part of which is to build and furnish a dwelling house". Her son Charles Ridgeley CARNAN received "the house and lot in Baltimore Town with all the buildings thereon, subject to the payment of £500 to my grandson, Daniel Chamier Holliday" when he turned 21. The three younger children were to divide one ninth of her "land and stock of the Northampton Company". Significant monetary bequests were made to other grandchildren: John Holliday, Sophia Gough, Achsah Chamier Holliday, Sarah Brook Holliday, Christiana Sim Holliday, Eleanor Addison Holliday. Smaller amounts were left to niece Pleasance COLEMAN, and to Frances ASBURY, William GILL, John FANNING, Michael ELLIS, John KENNEDY, and Nicholas DORSEY. There was additional property she carefully apportioned among her children and a few other heirs: her husband's estate in Great Britain, a tract of 350 acres called "Contentment" in Ann Arundel County, and "all the rest of my estate in America". A codicil 8 August gave her horses and carriage and household furniture at Perry Hall to her "daughter Gough" and three men. Mourning suits were to be given to Pleasance COLEMAN, Hannah FEW, Elizabeth REFFEW, and Mary REFFEW. The will was proved 19 December 1785. The executors were her sons John R. Holliday and Charles R. CARNAN, and her son-in-law Harry Dorsey GOUGH. On 12 October 1786, "the executors appointed in the will being absent from the State, the Court at New York appointed Richard DALLON to administer the estate."[52a] I do not know how much of the estate was from her first husband, who wanted to entail it all to his son John Robert Holliday, and how much came from her second and third husbands.
After the death of Achsah's brother, Capt. Charles Ridgely, owner of "Hampton", it was discovered that Charles had owned land not included in his will. On 5 October 1791 his heirs filed a bill of complaint with the High Court of Chancery. Eventually it appears to have been granted, and the remainder of the estate was divided into four parts, for his siblings or their children: one quarter to Darby LUX, widower of Rachel; one quarter to the children of Achsah, now CHAMIER; one quarter to Pleasance's children; and one quarter to the children and grandchildren of John Ridgely. So Achsah's four children each received a fourth of a fourth, or one sixteenth of the undivided land. It amounted to something like £250 each, as near as I can calculate.
Child of Robert and Achsah (Ridgely) Holliday:
Children of John and Achsah (Ridgely) Holliday Carnan (may be incomplete):
a) Charles Ridgely, b. 26 Aug. 1783;
b) Rebecca Dorsey Ridgely, b. 5 Feb. or Mar. 1785;
c) Prudence Gough Ridgely, b. 6 Feb. 1788; d.y.?
d) John Carnan Ridgely, b. 9 Jan. 1790;
e) Prudence Gough Ridgely, b. 15 June 1791
f) Priscilla Hill Ridgely, b. 17 Mar. 1796;
g) Eliza Ridgely, 24 May 1797;
h) David Latimer Ridgely, b. 19 Nov. 1798;
i) Sophia Gough Ridgely, b. 3 July 1800; was bequeathed £500 by her grandmother Achsah (Ridgely) Holliday Carnan when Sophia came of age.
j) Mary Pue Ridgely, b. 13 Feb. 1802;
To continue the story of this family, go to the Holliday page.
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The Ridgelys and their colonial Maryland relatives and ancestors are described in The Southern Connection: Ancestors of Eleanor Addison Smith Holliday Price. It delves into the social system, economics, religion, and politics that developed in colonial Maryland. The white elite considered themselves the pinnacle of civilization, while their wealth and power were dependent upon a horrifically brutal, racist enslavement system. This hardback print-on-demand book provides the context for Achsah's colonial Maryland plantation elite ancestors. The book is available at lulu.com. Click on the title, then on "preview" to see the table of contents and a few sample pages. The price is the cost of printing and binding, plus shipping. I make nothing on it.
See some other colonial Maryland families that link one way or another with these Ridgelys: Addison, Bale, Brooke, Browne, Dent, Dorsey, Ely, Hall, Hatton, Holliday, Howard, Isaac, Molton, Norwood, Owings, Randall, Sim, Smith, Stone, Tasker, Warfield. and Wilkinson.
Go to the index of other lines that are included in this website (not all of them have been posted yet).
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If you have additions or corrections to this web page, I would be delighted to hear from you. Contact me via e mail at .