Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, a patriot of the American revolution, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, born at Annapolis, Md., Sept. 20, 1737, died Nov. 14,1832. In 1745 he was taken to the college of English Jesuits at St. Omer, France, where he remained six years, and then went to the Jesuit college at Rheims. After two years he went to Bourges to study the civil law, and after remaining there one year spent the next two in Paris, whence he repaired to London and began the study of law in the Temple. In 1764 he returned to America, and in 1708 married Mary Darnell. He inherited a vast estate, the last of the manorial grants of Maryland, and at the commencement of the revolutionary war was considered the richest man in the colonies, his property being estimated at $2,000,000. In 1770-'71 he wrote articles, under the signature of "The First Citizen," against the right of the government to regulate fees by proclamation. In 1775 he was chosen a member of the first committee of observation established at Annapolis; and during the same year he was elected a delegate to the provincial convention. In February, 1776, he was appointed one of the commissioners to proceed to Canada in order to induce the inhabitants of that country to unite with the colonies.
He returned in June, and on the 12th presented their report, He found the declaration of independence under discussion, and the delegates of Maryland shackled by instructions "to disavow in the most solemn manner all design in the colonies of independence.'1 He hastened to Annapolis to procure a withdrawal of these instructions. Together with Judge Chase, he labored so assiduously that on June 28 the instructions were withdrawn and the delegates authorized to join in a declaration of independence. On July 4, 1770, he was appointed a delegate to congress, and on Aug. 2, when the declaration was first formally signed, ho was one of the earliest signers. As he affixed his signature a member observed, "There go a few millions;" and adding, "however, there are many Charles Carrolls, and the British will not know which one it is," Mr. Carroll immediately added to his name "of Carrollton," and was ever afterward known by that title. He took his seat July 18, and was soon afterward placed in the board of war. In the latter part of 1776 he was one of the committee to draft the constitution of Maryland, and in December of the same year he was chosen to the senate of that state. In 1777 he was reappointed a delegate to congress.
In 1781 and 1786 he was reelected to the Maryland senate, and in 1788 chosen a United States senator. In 1797 he was again elected to the senate of Maryland, and in 1799 he was appointed one of the commissioners to settle the boundary line between Virginia and Maryland. In 1810 he retired from public life, and afterward devoted his time to the management of his estate. On July 4, 1821, the fact that only four of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were still living was noticed in many of the newspapers. Of these, William Floyd of New York died 30 days afterward. The death of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4,1826, left Charles Carroll of Carroll-ton the last surviving signer. In the performance of their obsequies, funeral honors being paid them in Baltimore as in many other cities, Mr. Carroll was chief mourner. On July 4, 1828, after he had passed the age of 90 years, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators and attended by an imposing civic procession, he laid the corner stone of the Baltimore and Ohio railroads.