Charles Carroll (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832), known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton or Charles Carroll III, was an Irish American politician, planter, slaveholder, and signatory of the Declaration of Independence. He was the last surviving person to sign the Declaration of Independence, dying 56 years after signing the document, in addition to being the only Catholic signatory.
Considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Carroll was known contemporaneously as the "First Citizen" of the American Colonies, a consequence of signing articles in the Maryland Gazette with that pen name. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress. Carroll later served as the first United States Senator for Maryland. Of all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Carroll was reputed to have attained the highest formal education and wealthiest of the group. A product of his 17-year Jesuit education in France, Carroll spoke five languages fluently.
Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Carroll inherited vast agricultural estates and was regarded as the wealthiest man in the American colonies when the American Revolution commenced in 1775. His personal fortune at this time was reputed to be 2,100,000 pounds sterling; the equivalent to £273,902,687 in 2020 (US$375 million). In addition, Carroll presided over his manor in Maryland; a 10,000-acre estate that included approximately 300 enslaved people. Though barred from holding office in Maryland because of his religion, Carroll emerged as a leader of the state's movement for independence. He was a delegate to the Annapolis Convention and was selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776. He was part of an unsuccessful diplomatic mission, which also included Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Chase, that Congress sent to Quebec in hopes of winning the support of French Canadians.
Carroll served in the Maryland Senate from 1781 to 1800. He was elected as one of Maryland's inaugural representatives in the United States Senate but resigned from the United States Senate in 1792 after Maryland passed a law barring individuals from simultaneously serving in state and federal office. After retiring from public office, he helped establish the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.