John Carroll, an American prelate, born at Upper Marlborough, Md., in 1735, died Dec. 3, 1815. He was educated in the colleges of St. Omer and Liege, at the latter of which he was ordained a priest, and after surrendering his patrimonial estate to his brother became a member of the society of Jesus. Upon the dissolution of that society in France in 1702, he acted as the secretary of the dispersed fathers in their remonstrance with the court of France respecting the temporal interests of the order. He then went to England, and was selected by a Catholic nobleman to accompany his son as tutor in a tour of Europe. On his return to the continent in 1773, he was for a short time professor at Bruges and afterward retired to England, living with the family of the earl of Arundel. On the breaking out of the troubles between Great Britain and the American colonies, he returned to America, and was invited by a special resolution of congress to accompany his cousin, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Dr. Franklin, and Samuel Chase on a political mission to Canada, from which it was hoped that great benefits would ensue to the colonial cause.
After the establishment of peace the Roman Catholic clergy of the United States petitioned the pope for the establishment of a hierarchy in this country, and at Dr. Franklin's instance Mr. Carroll was appointed vicar general in 1780, when he fixed his abode in Baltimore. In 1789 he was appointed the first Catholic bishop in the United States. He was consecrated in England, assuming the title of bishop of Baltimore; and in 1815, shortly before his death, he was created archbishop.