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Charles Carroll - History

Charles Carroll - History

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Charles Carroll was born in 1737 in Annapolis, Maryland. Until the age of eleven, he was educated by Jesuits, and he later traveled to London and Paris where he studied liberal arts and civil law. Back home in 1765, he built a home on a ten-thousand acre estate given to him by his father, and spent the next ten years or so of his life in relative seclusion. He became increasingly involved in politics starting in 1773, however, when he attended the first Maryland Revolutionary Convention. Between 1774 and 1776 he was a strong supporter of non-importation measures.

In 1776, he and his cousin, a priest, (chosen for their linguistic and religious backgrounds) were part of a failed mission made by Benjamin Franklin and Maryland delegate, Samuel Chase, to establish a union with Canada When he and Chase returned to Philadelphia on June 11, they learned that the vote on Richard Henry Lee's independence resolution had just been postponed, and that Maryland had refused to commit herself. The two, along with another Maryland native, William Paca, headed back to their home state to work for approval of the resolution. When they returned to vote on July 1, they brought Maryland's support of the resolution with them. Three days after the vote, Carroll became a delegate, a position he held until 1778. He was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Some years later, in 1787, he was elected to, but did not attend the Constitutional Convention. He was a supporter of the Federalists, though, and was responsible, in part, for getting the Constitution ratified in Maryland. Between 1789 and 1792, he served as one of Maryland's first two senators in Congress. In 1804, at the age of sixty-seven, after failing to win a second term in Congress, he retired from politics in order to concentrate on personal affairs.

Carroll was the nation's last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the longest lived as well. He died in 1832 at the age of ninety-five, and was buried in Doughoregan Manor at the family chapel.

Mary Carroll

Mary Darnall, daughter of Colonel Henry Darnall, was a young lady of beauty, fortune, and ancient family. Charles Carroll of Carrollton was born in Annapolis, Maryland, September 30, 1737, at the home of his parents, Charles Carroll of Annapolis and Elizabeth Brooke. Charles and his mother enjoyed mutual tenderness and affection, but it was his father’s intense love and rigorous discipline that formed his character and gave him the skills and drive to succeed. A brilliant businessman, Carroll of Annapolis expanded his lands and capital and made his son an heir worthy and fit to receive them.

Although Maryland had been founded by and for Catholics on the basis of religious toleration in 1634, in 1649 and again in 1689, severe restrictions were placed on Catholics in England. The laws were also changed in Maryland, and Catholicism was repressed. Between 1690 and the beginning of the American Revolution, Catholics could no longer hold public office, practice law, vote, educate their children in their faith, or worship in public.

Known as “Charley” to his parents, Charles Carroll was sent at the age of ten to Maryland’s Eastern Shore to study secretly at the Jesuit school at Bohemia Manor in Cecil County. By 1749, Charley was sent to study at St. Omers in French Flanders. He was instructed in classical studies in Paris, and by 1760 was studying English law at the Inner Temple in London. After the death of his mother, a refined and well-educated Carroll returned home after sixteen years abroad.

Upon his return to America in 1765, Charley was given a 10,000 acre land tract called Carrollton, in Frederick County. Although he would never live there, he became known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton, to distinguish him from from the other Charles Carrolls in his family. As the only son of his generation, he became heir not only to the largest fortune in colonial Maryland, but to the ancestral legacy of defending family and faith passed down by the Carrolls.

Confined to private life by the Maryland statutes against Catholics, Charles Carroll joined his father in managing the extensive agricultural and business interests that constituted their fortune. By the 1770s, the Carrolls owned almost 40,000 acres of land, more slaves (330) than anyone else in Maryland, and a share in a profitable ironworks called the Baltimore Company. They also collected rents from some 195 tenants and were the greatest moneylenders in the colony. Maryland Catholics zealously guarded their fortunes by marrying into other Catholic families.

Charles Carroll married Mary Darnall, his cousin, on June 5, 1768, and began major improvements to his family home and gardens in Annapolis. They had seven children, only three surived to adulthood: Mary, Charles Jr., and Kitty. Charles, their only son, would later live at Homewood, now located on the Baltimore campus of Johns Hopkins University. Carroll, described often as the wealthiest man in the Colonies, had a substantial house built for each of his children.

Charles and Mary Carroll became busy and gracious hosts to such dignitaries and governmental leaders as George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. The house and grounds were the scene for many social events. Politics kept the family busy through the Revolutionary War and in 1783, their Annapolis estate was the site of the Official State Celebration for Peace and Independence.

Charles Carroll Town House
Over 300 years later, the Carroll House still stands in Annapolis, one of only fifteen birthplaces of the Declaration signers that remain standing. The history of the Carroll family comes alive at this house and garden overlooking Spa Creek in Annapolis.

Carroll gained a chance to enter politics on the eve of the American Revolution, when Maryland’s colonial government began to crumble. Not only were Roman Catholics in Maryland prohibited from voting, but all persons of every faith and no faith were taxed to support the established church, the Church of England. The discussion as to the right of taxation for the support of religion soon extended from the legislature to the public press.

Under the pen name The First Citizen , Carroll wrote a series of articles in the Maryland Gazette that maintained the right of the colonies to control their own taxation and attacked the validity of the law imposing the tax. As a result, he gained public acclaim for embracing the principle that the power to govern derived from the consent of the governed, and emerged as a true patriot. His position in the emerging revolutionary movement became clear in 1773.

Carroll also signed a resolution in May 1774 in which he agreed, “to stop all importation from, and exportation to, Great Britain” until the repeal of the Intolerable Acts – a series of five laws passed by the British Parliament relating to the American colonies. The acts sparked outrage and resistance and were important developments in the growth of the American Revolution. Many colonists viewed these acts as an arbitrary violation of their rights, and in 1774 they organized the First Continental Congress to coordinate a protest.

Carroll was elected with six others by the citizens of Anne Arundel County and Annapolis to the second Maryland Convention in November 1774, with full power to represent them in the provincial convention. This was Carroll’s first elected office, which in effect lifted the ban on Catholics serving in public office. Carroll was from this time for a period of twenty-seven years called to important public service on behalf of the colony.

The Convention adopted the Association of the Freemen of Maryland , which became the charter of the colony until the adoption of the Maryland constitution in 1776. The Association was pledged to an armed resistance against Great Britain. Carroll was appointed by the convention one of a committee of nine to “consider the ways and means to put this province in the best state of defense.”

On the January 11, 1776, the Maryland Convention instructed the Maryland delegates to the Continental Congress, “to disavow in the most solemn manner, all design in the colonies for independence.” On June 28, 1776, the Maryland Convention withdrew its previous instructions to its delegates to Congress, and authorized them “to vote in declaring the United States free and independent states.”

Principally responsible for this change of attitude in Maryland was Charles Carroll, who was rewarded by being elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress on July 4. He took his seat on July 18, and with the rest of the delegates of the thirteen states, signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776, when the parchment copy was ready to be signed.

With the Declaration of Independence, all the bias and restrictions against Catholics in Maryland ended. Carroll was the only Roman Catholic to sign the Declaration, and of all the signers he risked the most financially, his worth being estimated at $2,000,000. On July 19, 1776, Carroll was appointed to the Board of War, a very important committee, which was in charge of all the executive duties of the military department.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Michael Laty, Artist

Signature on the Declaration of Independence

Charles Carroll was appointed one of two delegates from Annapolis to the Colonial Convention which met to adopt a constitution for Maryland, on August 14. He was selected as one of the seven to draw up a constitution he was responsible for the method of choosing senators. In December 1776, Carroll was elected to the first Maryland Senate he was placed on all its important committees, and was later elected President of the Senate.

Carroll helped finance the war with his own private funds. He was a staunch supporter of George Washington, and when the war was going badly during the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, he was instrumental in persuading the Revolution’s Board of War not to replace Washington with General Horatio Gates.

Mary Darnall Carroll died in 1782, at age 33, having borne seven children. She was weakened by laudanum dependency, and heartbroken by the death of her father-in-law ten days earlier in a horse riding accident. The nearly simultaneous deaths of his father and his wife left Carroll a widower with small children, but he never remarried.

When the U.S. Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, Carroll became a leader of the Federalists. He was elected one of Maryland’s first US Senators under the new Constitution, and took his seat in 1789. In 1792, Maryland passed a law that prohibited a person from serving in the State and national legislatures at the same time. Carroll resigned his seat in the US Senate to retain his place in the Maryland Senate.

In 1801, Carroll retired from politics to concentrate on his business affairs. He became one of the founders of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, and invested in the Bank of Maryland, the Bank of Baltimore, and the First and Second Bank of the United States. He held many shares in canal, turnpike, bridge, and water companies in the Washington-Baltimore area. He continued to improve and enlarge his Annapolis home and gardens and Doughoregan Manor (a family country home in Howard County).

As a wealthy citizen of a new emerging Republic, Carroll was interested in financial stability and served as Alderman and Councilman for the city of Annapolis. Considered the largest slaveholder at the time of the Revolution, and owning between 400 and 500 blacks, he became president of the American Colonization Society (1828-1831), seeking to solve America¹s slave problem by resettling them in Africa.

Carroll came out of retirement to help create the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1827, purchasing $40,000 of state-backed securities to build the railroad, and serving on its first board of directors. On July 4, 1828, at the age of 91, Carroll laid the cornerstone of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, his last public act.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton died on November 14, 1832, Carroll died at the Caton home, at the age of 95. Upon his death on November 14, 1832, President Andrew Jackson closed the federal government and declared a national day of mourning, an honor accorded only once before, to George Washington. Carroll was interred at Doughoregan Manor.

Charles Carroll’s Address on the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, August 2, 1826:

Grateful to almighty God for the blessing which, through Jesus Christ our Lord, he has conferred upon my beloved country in her emancipation and upon myself, in permitting me, under circumstances of mercy, to live to the age of 89 years and to survive the fiftieth year of American Independence, and certifying by my present signature my approbation of the Declaration of Independence adopted by Congress on the fourth day of July, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and seventy six, which I originally subscribed on the second day of August of the same year, and of which I am now the last surviving signer.

I do hereby recommend to the present and future generations the principles of that important document as the best earthly inheritance their ancestors could bequeath to them, and pray that the civil and religious liberties they have secured to my country may be perpetuated to the remotest posterity and extended to the whole family of man.

Carroll History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Carroll has undergone many variations in the time that has passed since its genesis. In Gaelic it appeared as Cearbhaill, which is derived from the name of Cearbhal, the Lord of Ely who helped King Brian Boru lead the Irish to victory over the Danes at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

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Early Origins of the Carroll family

The surname Carroll was first found in counties Tipperary, Offaly, Monaghan and Louth. Through their connection with Cearbal, they descend from King Oilioll Olum.

There were six distinct O'Carroll septs prior to the Anglo- Norman Conquest. While four disintegrated before the end of the 13th century, the two most important septs continued. These were O'Carroll of Ely O'Carroll, from the counties of Tipperary and Offaly, and O'Carroll of Oriel, from the counties of Monagan and Louth.

While the Oriel O'Carrolls disappeared as an official sept resulting from the Anglo- Norman Conquest, the members of that sept were not scattered, but remained mainly within their ancient territories. However, the O'Carrolls of Ely O'Carroll managed to maintain their independence and heritage until the end of the 16th century, and continued to play an important role in Irish history.

They formerly held large territories in the county of Tipperary, but were confined to the area around Birr in the county of Offaly by the rise of the powerful Norman Butlers.

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Early History of the Carroll family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carroll research. Another 200 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1014, 1172, 1451, 1600, 1916, 1625, 1711, 1661, 1720, 1735, 1815, 1737, 1832, 1789, 1792, 1602 and 1673 are included under the topic Early Carroll History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Carroll Spelling Variations

Official documents, crafted by early scribes and church officials, primarily contained names that were spelled according to their pronunciation. This lead to the problem of one name being recorded under several different variations, creating an illusion that a single person was many people. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Carroll that are preserved in the archival documents of the time are O'Carroll, Carroll, Carrel, Carrell, Carrill, Carrol, Carroll, Caryll, Garvil, Garvill and many more.

Early Notables of the Carroll family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was John Caryll (1625-1711), 1st Baron Caryll of Durford who came of an ancient Roman Catholic family, which had been settled, from the close of the sixteenth century, at West Harting in Sussex. [1] Charles Carroll (1661-1720), often called Charles Carroll the Settler, to differentiate him from his son and grandson, was a wealthy lawyer.
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carroll Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Carroll migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Carroll Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Christopher Carroll, who arrived in Maryland in 1638 [2]
  • George Carroll, who landed in Maryland in 1672 [2]
  • Charles Carroll, who arrived in Maryland in 1688 [2]
Carroll Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Carroll, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [2]
  • Jacob Carroll, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [2]
  • Anne Carroll, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [2]
  • Anthony Carroll, who arrived in New York in 1798 [2]
Carroll Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Danl Carroll, aged 20, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1803 [2]
  • Ric Carroll, aged 22, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1803 [2]
  • Elizth Carroll, who landed in America in 1804 [2]
  • Edward Carroll, who landed in America in 1806 [2]
  • John S Carroll, aged 31, who landed in New York in 1812 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Carroll migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Carroll Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Carroll who settled in Nova Scotia in 1776
  • John Carroll, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1776
  • Patrick Carroll, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1776
  • Robert Carroll, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1776
  • Mr. Joseph Carroll U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [3]
Carroll Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Carroll, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1818
  • Peter Carroll, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1827
  • Ellen Carroll, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1831
  • Margaret Carroll, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • Peter Carroll, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Carroll migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Carroll Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Patrick Carroll, (Carter, Carpenter), (b. 1860), aged -67, Irish convict who was convicted in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Boddingtons" on 15th February 1793, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[4]
Carroll Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Laurance Carroll, Irish convict who was convicted in Dundalk, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[5]
  • Mr. Patrick Carroll, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Boyd" on 10th March 1809, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[6]
  • Miss Ann Carroll, (b. 1763), aged 50, Irish convict who was convicted in Armagh, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[7]
  • Patrick Carroll, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia[8]
  • Mrs. Anne Carroll, (b. 1798), aged 28, Irish house servant who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, listed with 1 child on board [9]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Carroll migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Carroll Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. David Carroll, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston aboard the ship "Spray" arriving in New Zealand in 1851 [10]
  • Miss Elizabeth Carroll, (b. 1812), aged 46, British dressmaker travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1858 [11]
  • John Carroll, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golconda" in 1859
  • Julia Carroll, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golconda" in 1859
  • Eliza Carroll, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golconda" in 1859
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Carroll (post 1700) +

  • Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, English author ("Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"), mathematician, and photographer
  • Thomas Roger "Tommy" Carroll (1942-2020), Irish international footballer
  • Ronnie Carroll (1934-2015), born Ronald Cleghorn, a Northern Irish singer and entertainer
  • Margaret Aileen Carroll PC, (1944-2020), née O'Leary, a Canadian politician, Member of the Canadian Parliament for Barrie (1997-2004)
  • Eleanor Darnall Carroll (1703-1796), née Darnall, American wealthy heiress in colonial Maryland, mother of Daniel Carroll, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States
  • Diahann Carroll (1935-2019), Academy Award-nominated and Tony Award winning American actress and singer
  • Andrew Carroll (1985-2018), American professional ice hockey player who died from a fall at O'Hare Airport a the age of 32
  • Leo Gratten Carroll (1886-1972), English actor, best known for his role as Alexander Waverly in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and in several Hitchcock films
  • Barbara Carroll (1925-2017), born Barbara Carole Coppersmith, an American jazz pianist
  • Robert "Bobby" Carroll (1938-2016), Scottish footballer who played professionally from 1957 to 1967
  • . (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Carroll family +

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John Carroll, British Seaman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [12]
Halifax Explosion
  • Master Gerald  Carroll (1910-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • Miss Lily Elizabeth  Carroll (1911-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • Miss Doris  Carroll (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • Mrs. Julia  Carroll, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • Mr. Arthur S.  Carroll (1887-1917), Canadian resident from Carroll's Corner, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • . (Another 1 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Peter Carroll (1912-1942), English Petty Officer from Devon, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, later died on the HMS Hermes in 1942 [14]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Thomas Carroll, English Leading Fireman from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [15]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Robert Lewis Carroll, American Seaman First Class from North Carolina, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [16]

Related Stories +

The Carroll Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In Fide et in Bello Fortis
Motto Translation: Strong in both faith and war.

Tangled Roots and Trees

Aunt Katherine asked me to look into her father's Walter family last year at the Lange Cousins Reunion as she didn't know much about them. I was able to trace the Walter family back to Nicola Walter (about 1720-1804), who immigrated with his wife and children from Rhineland-Palz and arrived in Philadelphia on 9 September 1751 aboard the Patience. Then Aunt Katherine and her son, my first cousin, agreed to be DNA tested so I thought I should research her mother's Carroll family so that I would have a better opportunity to identify their DNA matches.

Aunt Katherine's mother's maiden name was Carroll and her family had lived in Maryland for generations. There were several prominent men named Carroll in Maryland's Colonia-era history and I wondered if Aunt Katherine was related to one of them. But I could only get her Carroll family back to James Carroll, who was christened on 4 May 1768. His christening record listed his parents as William and Eleanor Carroll, but I have not yet found out anything about them.

Aunt Katherine's pedigree chart courtesy of Ancestry.com

Once I hit a dead end working backwards from Aunt Katherine, I decided to learn more about the Colonial-era Carroll family. Perhaps, there would be a clue about William Carroll following that research avenue.

It turns out there were two separate, seemingly unrelated prominent Carroll families in Maryland during the Colonial-era. Both were from Ireland and one was Catholic and one was not, though I believe the original Carroll in that family was Catholic but converted so that he could more fully take part in the business and political affairs offered by the colony.

The first Carroll to arrive in Maryland was Charles Carroll "the Settler" (1661-1720). He arrived in the province on 1 October 1688 and had secured the position of Attorney General before his arrival. His second wife was Mary Darnell, the daughter of Colonel Henry Darnell, Charles Calvert's chief agent in the colony. Two of their sons became known as Charles Carroll "of Annapolis" (1702-1782) and Daniel Carroll "of Duddington" (1707-1734). Charles Carroll "of Annapolis" married Elizabeth Brooke, and their son, Charles Carroll "of Carrollton" (1737-1832) was the only signer of the Declaration of Independence who was Catholic.

The first Carroll to come to Maryland from what became the Protestant branch of the family was Dr. Charles Carroll, Jr., who was born in Ireland in 1691 and arrived in Maryland in 1715. He renounced his Roman Catholic faith upon arrival and became Anglican, settling in Annapolis where he engaged in the practice of medicine and land speculation. He married Dorothy Blake. Their eldest son became known as Charles Carroll "the Barrister (1723-1783), who was an American lawyer and statesman. The Barrister's heir was one his sister's sons, James MacCubbin, who changed his name to James Carroll (1761-1832) in order to accept his inheritance. His son, James MacCubbin Carroll (1791-1873), was a director of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Company. He also served Maryland in the U.S. Congress.

According to author Ronald Hoffman, who wrote Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782, Dr. Charles Carroll, Jr.'s brother was Keane Carroll. His grandsons were Daniel Carroll II (1730-1796), who was one of the founding fathers of country, participated in the Constitutional Convention and was a Senator from Maryland, and Archbishop John Carroll (1735-1815), a prelate in the Roman Catholic church who was the first bishop and archbishop in the United States.

I believe the two Carroll families are related in some way back in Ireland. Dr. Charles Carroll, Jr. and Charles Carroll "of Carrollton" did business together, forming the Baltimore Company Iron Works in 1731 and used the salutation "Cousin" when writing to each other. But how?

On the Hathi Trust website I found, Families of Dr. Charles Carroll and Cornet Thomas Dewey, by Douglas Carroll. The book included letters between Dr. Charles Carroll, Jr. and Sir Daniel O'Carroll dated 1748 and a series of letters between Francis O'Carroll and a Charles Carroll dated 1882-83 which discussed the genealogy of the Carroll family. Francis O'Carroll included this chart with his letter:

The O&rsquoCarroll Lineage

  • Charles Carroll of Carrollton descended from an Irish immigrant named Daniel O&rsquoCarroll. Daniel served Lord Baltimore at the founding of the colony of Maryland and established the O&rsquoCarroll&rsquos as an influential force in the colony.
  • His son who is given the title, Charles Carroll the Settler dropped the &ldquoO&rdquo in the surname &ldquoO&rsquoCarroll&rdquo due to the prejudice against Irish Roman Catholics. He gave birth to another son, Charles Carroll of Annapolis.
  • Charles Carroll of Annapolis continued to build on his families wealth. He was an only child which gave him sole ownership of his father&rsquos land.
  • His son, Charles Carroll of Carrollton was also an only child and was born out of wedlock. Upon his death he bequeathed his son his estate, Charles III went on to become one of the wealthiest men in the 13 original colonies and despite his Catholic faith participate in politics.


In 1794, Carrollton was established and originally named Port William. Port William was the county seat for Gallatin County. In 1838, the state legislature divided Gallatin County due to the largeness of the county. Port William was renamed Carrollton and became the county seat of the newly formed Carroll County.

“What rich history. The tapestry
woven before our eyes was beautiful – and then we learned it was indeed a crazy quilt. I wish my roots were here.”

Explorer, James McBride is recorded to be the first to set foot on this land in 1754. He was traveling down the Ohio River in October 1754 in a canoe on exploration.

Following the end of the French and Indian War in 1760, Colonel William Peachy of Virginia was given a land grant by the British government for his loyal service. This two thousand acre tract was located at the point where the Kentucky River emptied into the Ohio River.

Woodsman Simon Kenton camped at the mouth of the Kentucky River in 1771, James Harrod and a group of settlers camped in this spot in May of 1774 before traveling further and settling what is now known as Harrodsburg. In 1784, a family named Elliot built a blockhouse on this spot. It was burned in 1785. In 1787, a Captain Ellison built another blockhouse, he left within two years. In 1791, General Charles Scott completed a larger blockhouse, elevated and fortified with picket palisades, as a base for his Kentucky Volunteers. This spot is marked at Point Park by a Historic Road Marker.

In 1794, Benjamin Craig, Sr. and James Hawkins purchased six hundred thirteen acres of land from the William Peachy land grant. In 1794, the area was incorporated as Port William.

The many of the settlers who came to the valley had ventured down the Ohio River on keel boats from as far as Pittsburgh. Others traveled by foot and beast across the buffalo traces from Virginia through the Cumberland Pass.

Carrollton and Carroll County were named in honor of the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland. Charles Carroll was born in Annapolis, Maryland on September 19, 1737. Carroll’s grandfather, Charles Carroll the Settler, an Irish gentleman, emigrated from England to Maryland due to the persecution of Catholics on October 1688.

As a Roman Catholic, Carroll was barred from entering politics, practicing law, and voting in colonial America. He became a prominent spokesman against the government of England. He was commissioned in 1776 with Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase and his cousin the Reverend John Carroll to approach Canada to assist the thirteen colonies in their fight for Independence. Through the establishment of the United States, Carroll helped break the barrier that allowed Catholics the same rights as Protestants.

After the death of Jefferson and Adams on July 4, 1826, he was the only surviving Signer of the Declaration of Independence left in the country. Carroll died on November 14, 1832.

External Research Collections

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Library of Congress Manuscript Division

Maryland Historical Society

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Pierpont Morgan Library

Rochester Public Library

Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art

State Historical Society of Wisconsin Archives Division

University of Maryland McKeldin Library

University of San Francisco Richard Gleeson Library

University of Virginia Alderman Library

Virginia State Library and Archives

Yale University Libraries Manuscripts and Archives

The Charles Carroll of Carrollton Family Papers Institute of Early American History and Culture

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was born on September 19, 1737 in Annapolis Maryland to Charles Carroll of Annapolis, a prominent gentry farmer and agitator for Catholic equality, and Elizabeth Brooke. In 1748, Charles Carroll of Carrollton was sent to Europe by his father to receive a Catholic education denied to him by Maryland law. He studied first at the College of St. Omer in France, before moving on to several prestigious French universities. He concluded his education in London, where he studied law at the Temple.

Carroll returned to America in 1765. In 1768, he married Mary Darnell. During their fourteen years of marriage they had seven children, three of whom survived to adulthood. Mary Darnell died in 1782, ten days after her father-in-law died in a horse riding accident.

Carroll came to the public’s attention in 1772 when he publicly opposed the actions of Governor Robert Eden, who ignored the General Assembly’s proclamation on office fees and established them himself. Carroll and one of the governor’s supporters exchanged a series of five letters in which they debated the merits and validity of the governor’s actions. Using the pen name “First Citizen” Carroll argued that the governor’s usurpation of legislative power would lead to tyranny. His argument received wide public approval.

In1775, Carroll was appointed to the Committee for Public Safety. This made him the first Catholic official in Maryland since his grandfather, Charles Carroll the Settler, was deposed from his position as the Maryland colony’s Attorney General in 1715.

On July 4th, 1776, Carroll was elected to represent Maryland at the Continental Congress. He was the sole Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence and served on the war board, which acquired supplies for the American army. In 1778, he returned to Maryland and assisted in the drafting of the Maryland Constitution. In this capacity, he created what would become the Electoral College system.

After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Carroll became the first Catholic senator. He served until 1792, when he was forced to resign his seat due to a change in Maryland law limiting politicians to either a seat in the state or federal legislature, but not both. Carroll, who preferred the Maryland Senate, gave up his U.S. Senate seat.

In 1800, Carroll lost reelection and retired from political service. He remained active, serving as a founding director of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, helping to establish the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the First and Second National Banks. He also provided money for the construction of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the establishment of Georgetown University, and other civic projects .Carroll died on November 14th, 1832 at the age of 95. He was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton: The Southern Irish Catholic Planter

A slightly different version of this essay is Chapter Eleven in Brion McClanahan, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers (Regnery, 2009). This essay is offered as a Southern celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton has one of the more interesting stories of the Founding generation. He was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies in the eighteenth century, and like other members of the Southern gentry, he lived the life of a European aristocrat. But Carroll was Catholic, and while well respected by his fellow Marylanders, he could not vote or hold office before the War for Independence. Carroll is the founder of the conservative American Catholic tradition. He was a staunch patriot and signatory to the Declaration of Independence, and he pledged his fortune to the cause of independence. He served in the Maryland legislature and was the first United States Senator from Maryland, but like many of the Virginians among the Founding Fathers, he spent a good portion of his life “retired” at his plantation committed to the further expansion of his lands. He was the last living signer of the Declaration.

The Carroll family had ties to the Irish nobility. The first Charles Carroll arrived in America in 1688 at the insistence of his father, Daniel O’Carroll, and the proprietor of the Maryland colony, Charles Calvert, 3rd Lord Baltimore. The Carrolls, as Catholics, faced persecution in England under the reforms of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Maryland was founded under the idea of religious toleration and was “owned” by a Catholic, making it a natural destination. Charles Carroll the settler rapidly expanded his land holdings, and his son, Charles Carroll of Annapolis, became a respected and wealthy man, despite the restrictions Protestants in Maryland ultimately placed on their Catholic neighbors.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was born a “bastard” son of Carroll of Annapolis and Elizabeth Brooke in 1737. His father refused to marry his mother for many years because of reasons relating to the inheritance of his estate. But marry they eventually did and Charles Carroll of Carrollton became the singular heir to his father’s considerable fortune, which included landholdings totaling in the thousands of acres, a large contingent of slaves, and the family plantation named Doughoregan Manor. But this inheritance was not unconditional. His father was a stern patriarch who insisted that his son perform at a high level in his educational and societal pursuits. A poor showing could change his fortunes.

Carroll of Carrollton was educated at a secret Jesuit school called Bohemia Manor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and then sent to St. Omers in Flanders to continue his studies. He received a fine classical education, and was well versed in the Catholic rebuttal of the Protestant Reformation. He finished near the top of his class and was sent to Paris to finish his education and then on to London to study law. Carroll did not return to Maryland until 1765. He took residence at Doughoregan Manor in that year and worked to “improve my own estate to ye utmost, and to remain content with ye profits a grateful soil and laborious industry will supply.” Politics did not interest him initially, and Maryland law precluded Catholics from voting, but as the conflict with Great Britain intensified, Carroll, like many young men of his generation, was drawn into the debate.

He wrote several stinging letters to friends in England critical of the Stamp Act and its infringements on American liberty. Carroll advised one friend to sell his estate in England and move to America “where liberty will maintain her empire, till a dissoluteness of morals, luxury and venality shall have prepared the degenerate sons of some future age to secure their own” profit. Once the English constitution was dissolved, and Carroll believed it was rapidly moving in that direction, America would be the only place in the world to enjoy the freedoms Englishmen enjoyed. The Stamp Act broke the law, and as Carroll described it, “there are certain known fundamental laws essential to and interwoven with ye English constitution which even a Parliament itself cannot abrogate….” These included “privilege from birth of Englishmen of being taxed with their own consent: the definition of freedom is the being governed by laws to which we have given our consent, as the definition of slavery is the very reverse.” Though he could not legally participate in colonial politics, Carroll had made his position clear: taxation without consent was illegal and violated the rights of Englishmen. The Stamp Act would bring, in his estimation, “political death…poverty and slavery.”

How could a man who was barred from voting have such a vested interest in the “rights of Englishmen”? Simple. Carroll was the master of a ten thousand acre plantation and quite possibly the wealthiest man in the colonies. He was descended from the nobility and his grandfather had been active in English politics for years before the Maryland government, hostile to his attachment to Lord Baltimore, revoked his right to vote. England was, after all, a Catholic country for much of its history. The barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Charta in 1215 were Catholic every monarch in the early modern era until Henry VIII separated from the Church was Catholic. There was a strong Catholic tradition in England, and the Carroll family was a prominent part of it. And though Irish by blood, he was an Englishman because he lived and prospered under the English constitution. His hostility to the Stamp Act stemmed from a thorough understanding of the ancient rights of Englishmen—or what Patrick Henry called the “ancient constitutions.” Like any other leader of the War for Independence, he ultimately believed that independence was the only way to ensure those rights. As early as 1764 he said the colonies “must and will be independent.”

Carroll remained attentive to his role as a planter for the next five years. He continued to question the legality of Parliamentary infringements on the English constitution in private letters, but his life was relatively quiet. He was married in 1768 to a cousin, Mary Darnall, and the two had seven children before Mary died in 1782. It was not until 1773, and a proclamation of new fees demanded by the Royal Governor of Maryland that Carroll took his protests public. The Maryland House of Delegates had labeled the new fees “robbery” and Carroll said in a private letter that, “War is now declared between Government and the People, or rather between a few placemen, the real enemies of Government, and all the inhabitants of this province.” The rub was over the ability of an appointed royal official, in this case the governor, to issue fees by decree.

Shortly thereafter, a letter to the Maryland Gazette from “Antillon” grabbed Carroll’s attention. “Antillon” proved to be the Maryland Attorney General, Daniel Dulany, a royalist, the most powerful man in Maryland politics, and member of a family who had long opposed the Carrolls. He was disdainful of the persistent attacks on the crown and Parliament and sought to defend royal authority. His letter set up a straw man, “First Citizen,” which represented the irrational “people,” against “Second Citizen,” the rational and conservative adherent to government authority. Of course, many of the “people” were the very conservative and wealthy planters and merchants of Maryland, including Carroll. After the letter from Antillon appeared, Carroll struck back under the name “First Citizen” in the same paper. He was critical of “career politicians” like Dulany whose status was determined by their role in government. “Men under the basis of self-interest, and under personal obligations to Government, cannot act with a freedom and independency becoming a representative of the people.” Disinterested statesmen like Carroll were the best safeguards against tyrannical authority.

Of course, no one knew, initially, that Carroll authored the response, but when word spread that it was a grudge match between the two most powerful families in the colony, the gloves came off. The two men exchanged written blows in the Gazette for months and when the smoke cleared, Carroll had emerged as a leader in Maryland politics, and Dulany was shamed by his reckless personal attacks. Carroll, in true statesmanlike fashion, wrote during one of the exchanges that when his opponent engaged in “virulent invective and illiberal abuse, we may fairly presume, that arguments are either wanting, or that ignorance and incapacity know not how to apply them.” With his new fame, Carroll became involved in most of the activities leading to war with Great Britain. He went to the First Continental Congress as an observer and strongly supported the Continental Association of non-importation. He served on the Maryland Committee of Correspondence and was responsible for the enforcement of Maryland’s boycott of British tea and other manufactured goods. It was Carroll who brokered the deal that led to the destruction of the Peggy Stewart, the ship that was burned during the height of the colonial tea protests. Carroll did not countenance mob action, but thought burning the ship was the best solution to avoid threats on both the captain’s life—the captain had been an outspoken advocate of the Tea Act—and the lives of the fifty-three indentured servants in his cargo. The tea and his human cargo were unloaded before the ship was burned to the waterline.

In 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Carroll to serve on a three man diplomatic team to Canada. The objective was to win Canadian support for independence and possibly form an alliance. Carroll was a natural choice for the mission. He was fluent in French and as a Catholic would be agreeable to the Catholic French Canadian population. The mission proved a failure, but Carroll had become both a star in his home state and in the Continental Congress. John Adams called him an “ardent patriot.”

Carroll returned to Maryland more dedicated to the cause of independence after his disastrous effort in Canada. He wrote during the excursion that “My abilities are not above the common level, but I have integrity, a sincere love for my country, a detestation of tyranny, I have perseverance, and the habit of business, and I therefore hope to be of some service” to the cause. Carroll underestimated his role. He drafted the Declaration of the Delegates of Maryland in support of independence and voted to separate from the crown on 28 June 1776. Carroll’s Declaration emphasized “Slaves, savages, and foreign mercenaries have been meanly hired to rob a People of their property, liberty & lives, guilty of no other crime than deeming the last of no estimation without the secure enjoyment of the two former.” He was sent to the Second Continental Congress on 4 July 1776, and though he was too late to vote for separation in that body, he signed the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence on 2 August 1776.

He again returned to Maryland and helped craft the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights. The Maryland Constitution was a model of conservative government complete with separate powers and restrictions on popular sovereignty. Carroll devised the Electoral College system in the process, the same system that was adopted by the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. He based his support for the new government on his knowledge of history and “insight into the passions of the human heart….” Maryland extended a declaration of religious liberty to all Christians and required all office holders to be Christian. Catholics could now fully participate in Maryland politics, and because of Carroll’s leadership, Maryland Catholics were one of the most passionate groups in support of independence during the war. They had a voice thanks in large part to the conservative revolutionary from Doughoregan Manor.

Carroll served in the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1778 and on the Board of War during the darkest years of the struggle. He was a resolute defender of George Washington, and the two men became close friends. When Washington resigned his military commission in 1783, Carroll had a place of honor beside the American Cincinnatus. The two men shared a conservative heritage and the disinterested ideals of the Southern planter. Carroll also opposed the confiscation of Tory land (land held by those who had remained loyal to the crown) and the enlistment of slaves into the American army without adequate compensation to slaveholders, and vigorously fought to maintain the conservative principles of the Maryland constitution while in the state Senate. He served in that body from 1777 to 1801.

Mild Federalist

When several individuals began calling for a stronger central government in 1787, Carroll jumped on board. He was elected as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention, but refused to attend because he wanted to keep an eye on the government in Maryland and ensure that the more democratic faction did not hijack the state legislature. Though not elected to the state ratification convention, Carroll supported the Constitution because he believed it was the perfect mix of “the energy of monarchy, the wisdom of aristocracy with the integrity, common interest, & spirit of a democracy.” Carroll, however, recognized that the government, even under the Constitution, was a “confederated Republic” and he remained in his Maryland Senate seat long after he retired from the federal government. Maryland was more his country than the United States. After the adoption of the Constitution, Carroll was sent to the first United States Senate by the Maryland legislature.

Though Carroll was the wealthiest man in the Union when he took his seat in the Senate, and was of aristocratic lineage himself, he opposed titles of nobility. He also opposed congressional salary increases and secret voting. He believed an elected seat was a duty rather than a station and feared the effect excessive compensation might have on the future of the government. If men could enrich themselves as public officials, what would stop the possibility of corruption? Carroll eventually supported efforts to centralize the banking and finance system and served on the Senate committee charged with hammering out the Bill of Rights. His activities in the Senate can be characterized as mildly Federalist. Carroll resigned his seat in 1792 in order to return to his business and plantation affairs. Interestingly, Alexander Hamilton considered him a leading candidate for president if Washington had chosen to retire in 1792. Carroll was unaware of Hamilton’s design but his conservatism and statesmanship were well admired traits among his compeers.

Carroll was defeated for re-election to his state Senate seat in 1801, a casualty of the Jefferson Revolution. He resolved never again to enter political life. His family had become a wreck during his continued absences. His wife was addicted to opium before her death and his son, Charles Carroll of Homewood, soon became a miserable alcoholic. Carroll tried to intervene to save his family, but more often than not, his efforts were futile. He invested in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and sustained a healthy, though conservative, return on his investments. As a prototypical planter, most of his capital was tied up in land and slaves. He usually owned 300 to 400 slaves at any given time.

His record as a slave owner and early abolitionist is a testament to his faith. He sold slaves, but avoided breaking up families, and he offered weekly religious instruction. He once presented a bill in the Maryland Senate for the gradual abolition of slavery which required all slave girls to be educated and then freed at twenty-eight so they could in turn educate their husbands and children. When several proposals for abolition failed, he joined the American Colonization Society and in 1830 was elected president of that organization. Three older slaves kneeled at his bedside the night of his death, practicing the Catholic faith his religious instruction provided them.

Alexis de Tocqueville called Carroll a “European gentleman,” and he was eulogized as the “last of the Romans” following his death in 1832. At 95, Carroll was the last remaining signer of the Declaration of Independence. He detested democracy, calling it nothing more than a “mob,” and hoped that the spirit of civil and religious liberty fostered by the War for Independence would continue long after the passing of the Founding generation. Carroll personified the pious, conservative, agrarian, American tradition. He thought the government should be left in the hands of disinterested statesmen, men who accepted duty and did not seek power or the emoluments and patronage that office provided. His vision was good limited government free from corruption and civil or religious persecution. Carroll was a Catholic Southern planter, the type of man de Tocqueville said “provided America with her greatest spirits.”

About Brion McClanahan

Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of six books, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (Regnery History, 2017), 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her (Regnery History, 2016), The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, (Regnery, 2009), The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes, (Regnery, 2012). He received a B.A. in History from Salisbury University in 1997 and an M.A. in History from the University of South Carolina in 1999. He finished his Ph.D. in History at the University of South Carolina in 2006, and had the privilege of being Clyde Wilson’s last doctoral student. He lives in Alabama with his wife and three daughters. More from Brion McClanahan

Modern History

Waverly Farm has its roots at River Farm Nursery, a 25-acre plot of land on the Potomac River near Poolesville, Maryland. I had already spent 20 years in the green industry owning Hydro Lawn, a regional lawn and landscape firm. River Farm Nursery started out as a diversion from the day-to-day hectic pace of operating a five-state business with tens of thousands of residential customers. I rediscovered my roots having grown up in a dairy farming community in Western New York State. Farming was back in my life for good.

I developed a passion as a grower and 25 acres couldn't really keep me that busy. Finally in 1996, after an extensive five-year search, I found what I had been looking for in Frederick County, Maryland. The land for the future Waverly Farm was divided into two 100-acre parcels, separated by a county road. The property was essentially twice as much land as I was looking for, but because the soils were so valuable, I didn't want to pass on this opportunity. I bought the whole farm, with every intention of selling off the additional hundred acres. Turned out, 100 acres wasn't enough either and the original 200 acres is now Waverly Farm.

The site for Waverly Farm, formerly a dairy farm, was selected based on its high quality soil. We recognize the value of these soils and are committed to preserving the land. We have committed nearly 50 acres to grass isles and perimeter strips throughout the nursery to prevent soil erosion. To assure soil is always available for production, and to build new soil sold with plants, we amend them with 120 tons per acre of compost with each planting rotation.

An interesting historical note relates to Dulles Airport which is about 20 miles to our southwest. When Dulles was in the planning stages, the valley that contains Waverly was seriously considered as a site for the new airport.

In 2013, I was very fortunate to meet Pat and Stanley Snouffer. Stanley is a descendant of the Snouffer family that owned Waverly in the 1800's. They have become great friends of the farm and visit regularly as Stanley is a Civil War artifact enthusiast who metal detects here and at many other sites in the region. He has had some good days here finding artifacts to add to his vast collection. He has also studied the history of his family and the area extensively, providing us with much detail about this part of Maryland.

Waverly Farm is a part of the county that extends from the Catoctin Mountain Ridge to the Potomac and Monocacy Rivers. Frederick County is committed to limiting growth in the area while preserving small town character, scenic vistas, a clean environment, and historical sites. Waverly Farm is preserved in perpetuity through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. The land can never be commercially developed and will always be a productive part of Maryland's agricultural community of over 2,000,000 acres statewide. In 1960, Maryland farmers worked on 3.67 million acres compared to the 2 million today. Sadly, farmland acres continue to decline.

Watch the video: Utopia (May 2022).