Monday, September 26, 2016

Carroll Families of Colonial Maryland

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

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:

Snippet from page 7 of Families of Dr. Charles Carroll and
Coronet Thomas Dewey

Honestly, I don't know what to make of it. The letter in which it was contained purports the chart outlines the connection between the Carroll families. Also included on page 2 was this chart printed by Sir Bernard Burke about 1870:

Snippet of page 2 of Families of Dr. Charles Carroll and Coronet
Thomas Dewey

So I am still completely at sea. I cannot figure out how the Colonial-era Carroll families are related nor can I figure out if the father James Carroll (born in 1768) was a member of either family. But it was an interesting rabbit hole to wander through!


  1. Interesting post. I'm descended from Daniel Carroll, son of Charles"the Settler" along with many other early Catholics in Maryland.

    1. So exciting you could figure that out! I found the Carroll families quite fascinating. I was overloaded in school with Virginia Colonial-era history (being from Virginia), but our teachers never crossed the state border! Have you read "Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland" by Ronald Hoffman?

  2. What I have found is different dates if birth for Charles Carroll and Clare Dunn, daughter of Conner Dunn. Charles Carroll birth as 1675 m. Clare Dunn. His,son John Carroll b. 1700,m. Unity Fox is my 6th great Grandfather.

  3. Rumor has it that my great-great grandfather on my fathers side was Dr. James Carroll, born in Carrollton,Maryland. According to Ancestry.Com, this man married a woman by the name of Elizabeth Miller of Cornwall, Pa. I suspect that he was married before to a woman from Maryland, but information is very sketchy.I'm at a standstill at present.

  4. I'm trying to find any information about the John Carroll that lived in Bute County, North Carolina in the 1760s. So far I have only found a tax record.

    1. I did not run across a John Carroll from Bute County as I concentrated my research on the Maryland Carroll families, looking for a connection between two prominent families. I never found it.

  5. Hello! I am trying to find where my geeat-great grandfather Charles F. Carroll of Baltimore came from. He was born in 1883 and married Minnie Holland. I know the two families come from early settlers but can't find a connection?