Catholic Founding Fathers - The Carroll Family CHARLES CARROLL CARTER
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin. Nearly every schoolchild recognizes them as the Founding Fathers. But there were a great many more Founding Fathers, even if their names are not so familiar as the above. Several of those lesser-known men who played key roles in the creation of the United States of America were Catholics.
There were a great many more Founding Fathers, however, even if their names are not so familiar as the above. Several of those lesser-known men who played key roles in the creation of the United States of America were Catholics. Chief among them were three members of the Carroll family of Maryland: Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence; his cousin Daniel Carroll; and Daniel Carroll's brother John Carroll, who became America's first Catholic bishop. Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) was the most illustrious and best-known of the Carrolls. He was the only signer whose property — Carrollton — was mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Carrollton was the 10,000-acre estate in Frederick County, Maryland, that Charles Carroll's father had given him on his return to America from his education in Europe.
At the time he signed the Declaration, it was against the law for a Catholic to hold public office or to vote. Although Maryland was founded by and for Catholics in 1634, in 1649 and, later, in 1689 after the Glorious Revolution placed severe restrictions on Catholics in England, the laws were changed in Maryland, and Catholicism was repressed.
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