CHARLES CARNAN RIDGELY was born in Baltimore County, Maryland on December 6, 1760. He became an orphan at a young age, and was adopted by his uncle, Charles Ridgely, whose last name he took in 1790. He was educated by private tutors and in private academies in his native state. In 1794, he was commissioned as brigadier general of the 11th Maryland Brigade. Ridgely entered politics in 1790, serving as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, a position he held for five years. He also served as a member of the Maryland State Senate from 1796 to 1800. Ridgely was elected governor of Maryland in 1815, and was sworn into office on January 2, 1816. He was reelected to a second term in 1817, and to a third term in 1818. During his tenure, the state prospered; and the internal improvement program flourished. Bridges, roads, and public buildings were all advanced. Also, Forts McHenry and Washington were ceded to the national government; and a portion of war expenditures were recovered from the federal government. After completing his term, Ridgely left office on January 8, 1819 and retired from political life. He stayed active, running his extensive estate and managing his iron works business. Governor Charles Carnan Ridgely passed away on July 17, 1829, and was buried in the family vault on his estate in Hampton, Baltimore County, Maryland.
Eisenberg, Gerson G. Marylanders Who Served the Nation. Annapolis, MD: Maryland State Archives, 1992.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
White, Frank F., Jr. The Governors of Maryland, 1777-1972. Annapolis, MD: Hall of Records Commission, 1970.
Maryland State Archives