Priscilla Dorsey Ridgely

Hampton National Historic Site, National Park Service

Hampton National Historic Site, National Park Service

In 1782, Charles Ridgely Carnan married Priscilla Hill Dorsey (1762-1814), the youngest sister of his uncle Capt. Charles Ridgely’s wife, Rebecca Dorsey Ridgely. The first two mistresses of Hampton were sisters. During her 22-year marriage, she bore her husband 14 children, and 11 survived to adulthood, a remarkable percentage in those days. Like her older sister, Priscilla was an ardent Methodist renowned for her piety, a trait she passed on to most of her eight daughters. The restrained style of her clothing as seen in this portrait further reflects her Methodist views. The painting at Hampton is an early 19th century copy of the original by Rembrandt Peale, now owned by the State of Maryland and exhibited at the Governor’s Mansion in Annapolis.

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