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Henry M. Ridgely

Henry M. Ridgely
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
January 23, 1827 – March 3, 1829
Preceded by Daniel Rodney
Succeeded by John M. Clayton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's First At-large district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 4, 1815
Preceded by Nicholas Van Dyke
Succeeded by Thomas Clayton
Personal details
Born (1779-08-06)August 6, 1779
Dover, Delaware
Died August 6, 1847(1847-08-06) (aged 68)
Dover, Delaware
Political party Federalist Party
Spouse(s) Sally Banning
Sarah Ann Comegys
Residence Dover, Delaware
Alma mater Dickinson College
Profession lawyer
Religion Episcopalian

Henry Moore Ridgely (August 6, 1779 – August 6, 1847) was an American lawyer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, and later the Democratic Party, who served as U.S. Representative from Delaware and as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Early life and family

Ridgely was born in Dover, Delaware, the son of Dr. Charles and Ann Moore Ridgely. He attended Dickinson College and studied law with Charles Smith of Charles Irénée du Pont), Henry, Nicholas, Eugene, Williamina and Edward. In 1842, Ridgely married Sarah Ann Comegys, the daughter of Cornelius P. Comegys, the former Governor of Delaware. They had no children. They were all members of Christ Episcopal Church. Ridgely was instrumental in the organization of the Farmer’s Bank and served as its president in Dover for 40 years.

Professional and political career

Ridgely was a Federalist and began his political career in the State House, serving in three sessions from 1808 through 1810. He was a Kent County Levy Court Commissioner as well. Subsequently, he was elected to the 12th and 13th United State House from required until March 4, 1811 until March 3, 1815. There he joined the general Federalist opposition to the War of 1812. Much of his correspondence from these days is published in A Calendar of Ridgely Family Letters, 1742-1899.

Not seeking reelection in 1814, he returned to Dover and resumed the practice of law. He served as the Secretary of State of Delaware from 1817 until 1827 and also was elected to the State House for the 1816, 1822, and 1827 sessions. In 1827, he was elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Nicholas Van Dyke and served out his term from January 12, 1827 until March 3, 1829. He was not reelected to the next Congress because, in the great political realignment then underway, Ridgely had become a supporter of President Andrew Jackson, in opposition to the majority in the Delaware General Assembly. He was an opponent of slavery and is said to have bought slaves, only to release them.

Death and legacy

Ridgely died at Dover and is buried there in the Christ Episcopal Church Cemetery. He was considered a man of superior judgment with a considerable talent for business.


Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. Members of the State House took office on the first Tuesday of January for a one-year term. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who also took office March 4, but for

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