Members of the famed Carroll family have owned the mansion near Ellicott City since Colonial times


Doughoregan Manor has been the home of the Carroll family since Colonial times.

The first Charles Carroll, known as the Settler or Immigrant, was the progenitor of the Carroll family in Maryland. He arrived in the colony on Oct. 1, 1688, having been named attorney general under Charles Calvert, the third Lord Baltimore.

Carroll, a Catholic, had been dispossessed of his estate at Ballymacadam Castle, the main seat of the O'Carrolls in the Irish midlands, through English persecution, according to Ronald Hoffman in his book, Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland.

In Colonial Maryland, he could own land, and he was granted Carroll's Forest, a 500-acre estate in Prince George's County. In 1689, he was granted Ely O'Carroll, a 1,000-acre estate in Baltimore County, and in 1695, Litterlouna, a 400-acre estate in Baltimore County, and New Year's Gift, a 1,300-acre estate at Elk Ridge in Anne Arundel County, according to J.D. Warfield in The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland.

"In 1707, he added Clynmalyra of 5,000 acres, and that same year was granted his princely domain of 10,000 acres of Doughoregan Manor," Warfield writes.

Charles Carroll the Settler married Martha Underwood of St. Mary's County, who died in 1690, and then Mary Darnall, the 15-year-old daughter of Henry Darnall, a leading figure in the government of early Maryland. They had 10 children, of whom three sons and two daughters survived, according to Warfield. Their eldest son, Henry, died at sea while returning from his education in Europe, but Charles Carroll Jr., born in 1702, and Daniel Carroll, born in 1707, survived.

Charles Carroll the Settler died in 1720, leaving "the largest estate in early 18th-century Maryland, including 47,000 acres and 112 slaves," according to Richard S. Dunn in the William and Mary Quarterly.

Charles Carroll the Settler's son, known as Charles Carroll of Annapolis, probably built the main section of Doughoregan Manor, which was completed about 1727, according to the National Park Service's Survey of Sites and Buildings.

"The original manor was a Georgian, 1 1/2 -story, brick structure with gambrel roof and two pairs of end chimneys. A kitchen-servants' quarters and a chapel, both probably one-story and constructed of brick about 1780, stood detached from the house, on the south and north respectively," the park service says.

Charles Carroll of Annapolis married Elizabeth Brooke and they had one son, Charles Carroll, born in Annapolis on Sept. 20, 1737.

Dunn says of Charles Carroll of Annapolis: "Educated in Catholic schools in France like his father, he was a complete outsider in Maryland without the right to hold office or to vote [Lord Baltimore's government in Maryland having been overthrown by the Protestants in 1689 and a royal government established in 1692], so he concentrated entirely on improving the estate he inherited. For many years he also managed the property left by his deceased brother, though when the relatives discovered that he had been charging them commissions and interest for transacting their business, there was a prolonged family quarrel.

"He invested in the Baltimore Company ironworks, placed about 200 tenants on his land and became the chief money lender in the colony, with 30,000 pounds lent at interest in 1768 and 41,000 pounds in 1776. His slave force grew in parallel fashion from 285 in 1764 to 386 by 1773. He built a fine town house in Annapolis and a larger country house at Doohoragen Manor (named after an ancestral valley in Ireland)."

Charles Carroll of Annapolis died in 1782. His house is preserved at 107 Duke of Gloucester St. in Annapolis.

In the third generation, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, one of 56 American patriots to sign the Declaration of Independence at the risk of their lives - and, in many cases (certainly his), at the risk of their considerable fortunes - became the most prominent Carroll to occupy Doughoregan Manor.

Like his father, Charles Carroll of Carrollton was sent abroad for his education. At the age of 11, he began six years of studies at the College of St. Omer, a Jesuit school near Calais, France, and then continued with one year at a Jesuit college in Rheims, France, and two years of the College de Louis-le-grand in Paris, and one year at Bourges, studying civil law, according to Mark M. Boatner III's Dictionary of the American Revolution. He then studied law at the Middle Temple in London for several years, returning to Annapolis in 1764.

"He came home at 27 years, an amiable, upright, accomplished young man, with the polish of European society and the social acquirements of studious culture," Warfield says. On his son's return, Charles Carroll of Annapolis gave him the 12,700-acre estate Carrollton, near Adamstown in Frederick County.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton married his cousin, Mary Darnall, on June 5, 1768. She died in 1782. They had seven children, three of whom lived to adulthood.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton took up residence at Doughoregan Manor in 1765 and lived there until his death in 1832, the last of the signers of the Declaration of Independence to die. His grave is beneath the pavement beside the altar in the manor house's chapel.

"Charles Carroll of Carrollton outlived his son, known as Charles Carroll of Homewood, and it was his grandson, Charles Carroll, called 'the Colonel,' to whom were bequeathed his grandfather's broad acres," reports Don Swann Jr. in Colonial and Historic Homes of Maryland.

According to the National Park Service, in the 1830s Charles Carroll the Colonel "undertook a comprehensive expansion in the Greek Revival style that converted the manor to its present five-part composition.

"He raised the main house to two stories and cut off the gable roof to form a flat deck, which was balustraded and surmounted by an octagonal cupola. At the front (east) center door he added a one-story portico with four Doric columns. To the rear of the residence, he attached another portico, over which he erected a room. Along both sides of the rear portico, he constructed a covered, one-story veranda with iron columns that extended the length of the main house. The heights of the kitchen-servants' quarters and the chapel were raised and they were connected to the main house by two-story wings, topped by unifying wooden walkways."

Inside the house, according to the National Park Service, "The central part of the mansion, an oak-paneled central hall extends from front to rear. The principal stairway is located in a small side hall adjacent to the front of the main hall. On one side of the main hall in the 1727 portion of the house are library and large parlor; on the other, small parlor and dining room. The second-floor bedrooms, remodeled in the 1830s, were completely renovated and redecorated about 1915. The chapel, refurbished in the 1830s and again after the Civil War, is in good condition and is ... one of the few surviving private chapels in the United States dating from the 18th century."

Charles Carroll the Colonel's son was also named Charles Carroll. He married Caroline Thompson of Virginia. "As they preferred to live abroad, the estate was sold to a brother, John Lee Carroll, governor of Maryland, in 1875. The governor's first wife was Anita Phelps of New York; his second was Mary Carter Thompson, sister of his brother's wife," Swann writes. "His son by his first wife was also Charles Carroll, who left the property to the last Charles Carroll to own Doughoregan Manor. He sold to Philip Acosta Carroll, the present owner, of another branch of the family," Swann writes. "Thus it is that this property has been in the same family since it was granted."

Although Doughoregan Manor is a national historic landmark, it remains a private residence. Neither the grounds nor manor house is open to the public.

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