Judge Benjamin Nicholson
(Bef 1745-1792)


Family Links

1. Mary Ridgely

Judge Benjamin Nicholson 1

  • Born: Bef 1745, Chestertown, Kent, Maryland, (United States)
  • Marriage (1): Mary Ridgely in 1771 in Baltimore Co., Maryland, (United States)
  • Died: 1792, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

  Research Notes:

From http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=brucen&id=I1721 :

1. Captain Horse Troop in Revolutionary War.

2. Judge Benjamin Nicholson (bef 1765 Kent Co, MD - 1792 Baltimore)

3. From: "A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789" by Edward C. Papenfuse et al., The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Married: Mary Ridgely (?-1804), daughter of John Ridgely (by 1724-1771) and wife Mary Dorsey.

Children: William; Benjamin, John Ridgely (abt 1772-1800), a doctor, who married Matilda Heath Smith; and Benjamin Joseph, who was possibly lost at sea by 1804; Mary, who married in 1798 Darby Lux (abt 1772-1812); Elizabeth; Eleanor; Sarah; and Juliet.

Private Career: Education: studied law.

Religious affiliation: Protestant, buried by Rev. John Coleman, rector of St. John's Parish, Harford County.

Social Status and Activities: Gentleman by 1771; Esq. By 1789.

Occupational profile: lawyer, admitted to the following courts: Queen: Anne's County, June 1765; Baltimore and Frederick Counties, August 1765; Provincial Court, October 1768; Anne Arundel and Cecil Counties by March 1769; merchant, by June 1771 until at least 1773, in partnership with his brother James; planter; mill owner;, 1789-1792 (although the mill land was mortaged shortly before his death, its assets were included in Nicholson's inventory).

Public Career: Legislative service: Conventions, Baltimore County, 2nd-3rd, 1774, 4th, 1775, 5th, 1775, 6th-8th, 1775-1776 (did not attend the 8th Convention). Other state offices: Judge, Court of Admiralty, 1776-1789 (commissioned on October 30, 1776). Local offices: Committee of Observation, Baltimore County, 1776; Chief Judge, Baltimore City Court, appointed 1791. Military service: Captain, Baltimore County Militia, by 1776; Major, Baltimore Town Battalion, Baltimore County Millitia, 1777-1781 (commissioned on September 12, 1777); Captain, Volunteer Troop of Light Dragoons, Baltimore County Millitia, by October 1781; Nicholson undertook the last command at the request of the "youth in his neighborhood", even though it meant accepting a lower rank.

Wealth During Lifetime: Personal property: assessed value 1,222.17.6, including 13 slaves and 24 oz. Plate, 1783; charged with 14 slaves, 1790.

Additional comment: Nicholson was an executor of the estate of his father-in-law, John Ridgely (by 1724-1771), which was not settled until 1787. His financial troubles by the late 1780s were apparently exacerbated by Ridgely's outstanding debts. In 1791, Nicholson mortgaged 16 slaves, livestock, plantation equipment, and household furniture to Charles (Carnan) Ridgely. Land at first election: 513 acres in Baltimore County, one-half interest in 135 acres in Anne Arundel County, and one-third interest in the lease of a lot in Fell's Point, Baltimore Town (all by purchase), plus an undetermined number of lots in or near Baltimore Town left to his wife by her father.

Significant changes in land between first election and death: purchased 25 acres in Baltimore County, 1775; sold Mary's Baltimore Town lots in 1775 and the Anne Arundel County land in 1779; charged with 4 improved lots in Baltimore Town, 1783. In partnership with Charles Ridgely (1733-1790), Darby Lux (?-1795), John Sterett (1750/51-1787), Samuel Chase (1741-1811), and three others, purchased the confiscated Nottingham Ironworks in 1782, giving Nicholson a one-eighth interest in ca. 4,000 acres of land in Baltimore County; mortgaged his 539 acres in Baltimore County to his brother-in-law, John Ridgely, to secure settlement of the estate of his father-in-law John Ridgely (by 1724-1771) in 1786; mortgaged the one-eighth interest in the Nottingham Ironworks to Charles Ridgely (1733-1790) in 1788; obtained the release of the mortgage on the 539 acres of the land plus a certificate of survey fro an additional 106 acres in Baltimore County; purchased another 530 acre tract, which included a grist mill in Baltimore County, 1789; mortgaged this 530 acre tract and sold his ironworks interest (already mortgaged) to Charles (Carnan) Ridgely, 1791.

Wealth at death: Died: between March 10 and May 2, 1792, in Baltimore County. Personal property: TEV, 2,076.16.5 current money (including 19 slaves, 1 servant, at least 3 books, 54 oz. Plate, beehives, 2 and one-half tons of "ship stuff", and 74 barrels of :fine flour in the mill". Most of his property was already mortgaged). FB, 2.9.3. Land: probably 30 acres in Baltimore County.

4. Maryland and Delaware Revolutionary Patriots, 1775- 1783 Military Records
Baltimore Town and Baltimore County, Maryland, Revolutionary Patriots Listings, Page 195
MyFamily.com, Inc., July 27, 2004

NICHOLSON, BENJAMIN. (1745 - 1792) Son of Joseph NICHOLS0N and Hannah SMITH of Kent County, MD. He married Mary RlDGELY, and their children were: William; Mary, md. Darby LUX; John R., md. Matilda SMITH; Benjamin J.; Elizabeth, Eleanor; Sarah; and, Juliet. Benjamin NICHOLSON was very prominent during the Revolutionary War. He was Baltimore's Representative (or, rather, one of them) to the Association of Freemen on July 26' 1775, and then represented the Upper Back River Hundred at the Association of Freemen on August 21, 1T75. He was elected to the Baltimore County Committee of Observation on September 23, 1775, and was a Delegate to the Provincial Convention. He served on the Baltimore Town Committee of Correspondence, Nov. 12, 1775, and became Captain of the Baltimore County Militia Company No. 2 on Dec. 19, 1775, commanding 62 Privates. He became Captain of Soldiers Delight Company No. 1 on May 13, 1776, and 1st Major in the Baltimore Battalion on May 25, 1776. On September 17, 1777, he was Lieutenant Colonel of Baltimore County Militia 3rd and 4th Classes, under Colonel John Moale. On October 13, 1780, he was Battalion Colonel, Baltimore County Militia, commanding 1,345 troops. Subsequently, he recruited a Troop of Horse in Garrison Forest at the request of the men of that area, and he even was willing to accept the lower rank of Captain (or Lieutenant Colonel) so as to command once again, June 7, 1781. He was also involved in the Baltimore Committee of Confiscated Property in 1782. He died in 1792, and Mary NICHOLSON was his named administratrix, August, 1794. [L~109, RR-50, SS-136, WW~443, FFF-468, BBBB-Z74, JJJ-497, CC-36, G-10. E-13. F-311, BBB-379. BB-2, FF-64, F-303, SS-130, SSS-110, RR-51, EEEE-1726)

5. Maryland and Delaware Revolutionary Patriots, 1775-1783 Military Records Baltimore Town and Baltimore County, Maryland, Military Lists, Page 325

MyFamily.com, Inc., July 27, 2004


''Inclosed is a roll of a Troop of Horse which I have embodied in the Forest. They have agreed to equip themselves....(but)....lf the State could furnish pistols and swords the Troop might be greatly enlarged and would be in immediate readiness. It was at the solicitation of the youth in my neighborhood that I undertook the embodying and command of the Troop..... You'll find among our number some Veteran Officers, who have left the Continental Service and whilst in served with reputation." (Letter to Gov. Lee)

(Source: Archives of Maryland, Vol. XLVII, page 274)

6. 1783 Baltimore County Tax Assessment

Benjamin Nicholson. Nicholsons Manor, pt, 25 1/2 acres. BA Middle River Upper & Back River Upper Hundred, p. 11. MSA S 1161-2-10 1/4/5/45

Benjamin Nicholson. Welches Cradle, pt, 513 acres. BA Middle River Upper & Back River Upper Hundred, p. 11. MSA S 1161-2-10 1/4/5/45

7. The Treasures of Loch Raven
Information compiled by John McGrain, Baltimore County Historian Mills Near Loch Raven Summary (March 4, 2002)

Rogers Mill
This colonial mill and its successor paper mill were on the north side of Paper Mill Road, east bank of Gunpowder Falls, a substantial ruin that was discernible before the construction of the new Paper Mill Road bridge in 2001. The first mention of the mill here was in 1773 when Benjamin Rogers advertised that two Irish servants had run away from his mill on the Great Falls of Gunpowder. An early traveler, Ebenezer Hazard, noted in his diary for November 6, 1777: "Crossed the Falls of the Gunpowder at Redgers [sic] Mill." An advertisement for a stray mare was published in the Maryland Journal in 1787 that stated that the animal had gotten lost somewhere between Rogers and Gwynns mills on the Great Falls. In 1787, John Merryman advertised that he had been authorized to dispose of the property of Benjamin Rogers and Charles Rogers, and offered to sell a valuable farm of 530 acres with a grist and a sawmill. In 1792, Mary Nicholson, administrator of Benjamin Nicholson, advertised a large mill on the Great Gunpowder Falls, 17 miles from Baltimore on the road to York. That property was Ranelagh Mills and was the very same one shown on Dennis Griffith's 1795 map of Maryland and Delaware, where it was marked as the "Nicholas" mill, east bank of the falls on the road to Slade's Tavern. In the advertisement of 1800 describing the new election districts, there as mention of William C. Gouldsmith's Mill (formerly Rogers) on the Old York Road at Gunpowder Falls. In 1811, William Copeland Gouldsmith sold a mill on Great Gunpowder Falls to Charles Jessop. The deed in that transaction revealed that the land grant name was "Benjamin's Hills and Valleys." Charles Jessop's ledger survives at the Baltimore County Historical Society and shows that he moved to the Vaux Hall mansion in 1807. Later, he bought several mills, including Boyd's Mill and the Beaver Dam Mill. He referred to the mill nearest to his home as the Oxford Mill, which seems to mean the old Rogers Mill. Jessop's ledger records heavy damage in the flood of August 9, 1817. On January 30, 1822, the ice in the Gunpowder broke and water stood seven feet deep in the first story of the mill. Another flood hit on February 18, 1822. Jessop recorded on March 17, 1825, that William Price, a three-year-old had drowned in the forebay of the mill - that is, in the final sluice leading to the water wheel. The old colonial mill was apparently rebuilt, because a new works, the Marble Vale Mill equipped with four pairs of 4-1/2 foot burr stones and a sawmill was advertised in the Baltimore American of September 17, 1838. At that time, William Tyson was the tenant operator of the mill

Benjamin married Mary Ridgely, daughter of John Ridgely Sr. and Mary Dorsey, in 1771 in Baltimore Co., Maryland, (United States). (Mary Ridgely died in 1804 in <Baltimore, Maryland>, United States.)


1 http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi, http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=brucen&id=I1721.

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