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Hampton National Historic Site, in the Hampton area north of Towson, Baltimore County, Maryland, USA, preserves a remnant of a vast 18th-century estate, including a Georgian manor house, gardens, grounds, and the original stone slave quarters. The estate was owned by the Ridgely family for seven generations, from 1745 to 1948. The Hampton Mansion was the largest private home in America when it was completed in 1790.

  • The historic site includes the historic mansion, slave quarters, barms, and outbuildings
  • Mansion bedroom with original furnishings
  • Learn more about slavery and 19th century Maryland with Barabra Fields' book-click the link below for more info.

In colonial days, Hampton labor force included indentured servants, immigrants mainly form the British Isles who labored for a period of years until their passage fee to America was paid back. In addition there were free artisans and tradesmen, convict laborers, and during the Revolution, British prisoners of war. Families, including children, worked together. Most of these people eventually had some degree of social mobility--unlike enslaved people. Charles Ridgely Carnan freed most of his slaves upon his death, but the era of forced servitude at Hampton remained until Maryland state law ended the practice in 1864--in the midst of the Civil War.

Slaves were present at Hampton from its beginnings and worked in every capacity. Hampton's enslaved population at its height numbered more than 300, making it one of the largest slave plantations in Maryland. Enslaved people worked in both skilled and unskilled capacities; they were field hands, cobblers, woodcutters, limestone and marble quarries, millers, ironworkers, blacksmiths, gardeners, and jockeys. Slaves also performed household chores including cleaning, cooking, serving food, and caring for children. The Ridgelys often paid many slaves for extra work in addition to their regular duties. Today, in order to compensate for the lack of slave generated documents, research continues into the lives of Hampton's slaves and servants.