Ridgely, Nicholas H.

Born: 1800-04-27 Baltimore, Maryland

Died: 1888-01-31 Springfield, Illinois

Ridgely was educated in Baltimore and became a merchant. In 1828, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was a clerk in a branch of the Bank of the United States until 1835. In May 1835, Ridgely became the cashier of the State Bank of Illinois in Springfield. He also assumed the office of trustee, holding both offices until the bank lost its charter and ceased operations in 1843. In 1852, Ridgely established a private banking business, Clark’s Exchange Bank of Springfield. In 1859, Ridgely brought his son Charles into the business and renamed it N. H. Ridgely & Co. He owned the Northern Cross Railroad, which later became the Sangamon & Morgan Railroad, which eventually was consolidated with the Great Western Railroad. In 1854, he was one of the founders of the Springfield Gas Works. He was also pivotal in obtaining a charter for the Illinois Central Railroad.

Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL; Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield), 1 February 1888, 3:6; Joseph Wallace, Past and Present of the City of Springfield and Sangamon County Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1904), 1:723-24; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Sangamon County (Chicago: Munsell, 1912), 1:451; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 616-17.