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Basil Ridgely

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA
Death unknown
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 181598785 · View Source
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Biography written by Taylor Blades for the Finding the Maryland 400 project ( Used here in hopes of connecting with existing ancestors.

Basil Ridgely was born to William and Margaret Ridgely near Elk Ridge in Anne Arundel County, Maryland in 1740. He was the oldest of eight, with three brothers and four sisters; William, Zephanin, Charles, Amelia, Rachel, Nancy, and Sarah. The Ridgely family wielded great power in Maryland, particularly in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties. [1]

Ridgely enlisted into the Continental Army’s First Maryland Regiment on February 3, 1776 when he was about 36 years old. At the time of the Battle of Brooklyn (otherwise known as the Battle of Long Island) on August 27, 1776, Ridgely was a private within Captain Patrick Sim’s Second Company, making him rather old for holding such a low ranking position. Although the battle was a defeat for the Americans, the valiant defense by Ridgely and the other soldiers of the “Maryland 400” held off the British long enough to allow much of the trapped American army to escape. Ridgely was one of the lucky soldiers who survived that day, his company losing fewer than ten men. [2]

After the Battle of White Plains, the Battle of Trenton, and the Battle of Princeton, Ridgely reenlisted as a corporal on December 10, 1776, and was promoted to ensign on April 17, 1777. As an ensign, Ridgely started to receive a commission. After the reestablishment of a restructured First Maryland Regiment, these Marylanders went on to participate in every main battle fought by the Continental Army until 1780, including the battles of Staten Island, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In these battles, the new recruits to Maryland’s forces were provided with a hardened core of experienced soldiers like Ridgely who were able to provide them with stability, strength, and the experience of prior confrontations. This helped with the campaign of 1777, where the First Maryland Regiment acted as a crucial aspect of Washington’s offensive force. [3]

After resigning on December 7, 1778, Ridgely moved back to Anne Arundel County to return to his life as a planter. He owned 200 acres of land and was also given 100 acres by his father; Ridgely also inherited a a plantation of unknown size from his childless uncle in 1779. He was in the upper 25 percent of landowners in the county. He had to sell 150 acres of his land to repay debt he owed in 1791, but afterwards Ridgely still had a decent amount of property holdings. [4]

Ridgely married Actions Gaither on May 24, 1783. It is unknown if they had any children together. Together they resided in what later became the Howard district of Anne Arundel County. His sister Sarah lived on the neighboring plot of land with her husband-and Actions’ brother-Rezin Gaither. [5]

No further definitive information is known about Ridgely's life. While he was listed in the 1790 Federal Census, he is not in the 1800 Federal Census or any after that, making it likely that he passed away before 1800. This cannot be proven as he did not have a will or an inventory processed. [6]


[1] Harry Wright Newman. Anne Arundel Gentry: Volume 3. (Annapolis, MD, 1979) 105, 112.

[2] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 8.

[3] Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 155; Reiman Steuart, The Maryland Line (The Society of the Cincinnati, 1971), p. 124.

[4] Harry Wright Newman. Anne Arundel Gentry: Volume 1. (Annapolis, MD, 1970) 172; Anne Arundel Gentry: Volume 3. 97, 105, 112.

[5] Anne Arundel Gentry: Volume 1. 75, 78; Anne Arundel Gentry: Volume 3. 112.

[6] 1790 United States Federal Census. NARA M637. From


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  • Created by: historyhermann
  • Added: 20 Jul 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 181598785
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Basil Ridgely (1740–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 181598785, ; Maintained by historyhermann (contributor 49112035) Unknown.