In 1790, the Ridgely family’s Hampton Mansion was the largest house in the United States. Who worked to keep this enormous estate running efficiently? Who labored in the surrounding gardens and, a little farther away, in the lucrative, but treacherous iron furnaces? Although the Ridgely family hired indentured servants and free blacks, the estate depended on slave labor for over 100 years, ending only when Maryland State law ended the institution in 1864. The Ridgely’s owned over 500 enslaved people during that period.
Gregory Weidman, Curator, Hampton National Historic Site, will present a lecture based on her recent research as a member of the Hampton Ethnographic Team that worked for three years to uncover and document the lives and families of those enslaved on the Hampton estate. Her presentation will showcase the broad range of historic sources that were used to explore the personal stories of these individuals, documenting their lives both before and after freedom, including identifying their family groups and the lives of descendants. We hope you will join us to hear the important stories of the people enslaved at Hampton Mansion.