Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland
|Charles Carroll was born in 1737, and was an outstanding statesman of Revolutionary War fame. His home was in Annapolis, and he was very influential throughout the war and during the early national period. Although he was born in Annapolis he received his education abroad. He returned to Maryland in 1765 and settled on his estate in Frederick County.
This estate consisted of 10,000 acres and was known as "Carrollton Manor." Being a Roman Catholic, he was legally barred from holding public office in Maryland, but he wrote a series of articles under the pen name of the "First Citizen" which were published in the Maryland Gazette in 1773. These articles opposed the payment of fees to established church clergy.
In 1776 he was elected to the Continental Congress from Maryland and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was the last living signer of this famous document. The Continental Congress sent him, in 1776, with Samuel Chase and Benjamin Franklin on a mission to Canada to attempt to persuade them to join with the colonies against England, but they did not succeed. He was elected the first senator from Maryland under the Constitution of the United States in 1789 and served until 1792. His last public act was performed on July 4th, 1828 when he turned the first spadeful of earth in the building of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad-- the first passenger railroad in the United States.
He declined to serve in the Constitutional Convention but supported its adoption and became an ardent Federalist. When he died at almost 96 years of age he was said to have been the wealthiest man in the United States.
Although Charles Carroll never visited Carroll County, it was for him that both Carrollton and Carroll County were named.
General Henry A. Stidger of Carrollton, Ohio, then Centerville, Columbiana County visited Mr. Carroll in his home at Annapolis about six months before he died in November. He told him that a new county was being formed in Ohio and that they planned to name it after him because he was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Stidger reported that Mr. Carroll was very much pleased to learn that a new county would be named for him, and wished them well. He had been a lawyer by profession and was considered one of the leading statesmen of the day, being called the "Champion of American Liberty"