John Lee Carroll

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For other people of the same name, see John Carroll.
John Lee Carroll
37th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 12, 1876 – January 14, 1880
Preceded by James B. Groome
Succeeded by William T. Hamilton
Maryland State Senate
In office
Personal details
Born September 30, 1830
Baltimore, Maryland
Died February 27, 1911(1911-02-27) (aged 80)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Anita Phelps (m. 1856–1873, her death)
Mary Carter Thompson (m. 1877–1899, her death)
Children 10
Religion Roman Catholic

John Lee Carroll (September 30, 1830 – February 27, 1911), a member of the United States Democratic Party, was the 37th Governor of Maryland from 1876 to 1880.

Early life[edit]

Carroll was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Col. Charles Carroll (b. 1801) and Mary Diggs Lee (b. 1800). Col. Charles Carroll was the great-grandson of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. John Lee Carroll was also a great-grandson of Maryland's second (and seventh) governor, Thomas Sim Lee.[2]

At the age of ten, in 1840, Carroll was sent to Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, where he remained for two years. After leaving he attended Georgetown University, and then St. Mary's College, in Baltimore, for three years.[3] Carroll then decided to enter the legal profession, and attended Harvard Law School for two terms.


After finishing schooling, Carroll worked as a student lawyer for the law office of Brown and Brune in Baltimore. He was admitted to the bar in 1851. Carroll practiced law in Maryland from 1854 until 1858. He ran as a Howard County Democratic candidate for the State Assembly in 1854, losing to his opponent from the Know Nothing Party.[4] Carroll then moved to New York and while there, accepted a position as deputy clerk and United States Commissioner in the office of the clerk of the United States district court. He stayed there until 1861, when he returned to Maryland, where he then remained the rest of his life. When he returned to Maryland, Carroll purchased the Doughoregan Manor family estate from his older brother Charles Carroll.

Carroll was elected into the Maryland State Senate in 1867 and served two terms. He was elected President of the Senate in 1874.

In 1875, Carroll became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland, opposed by James Morrison Harris. He won by a 10,000-vote majority and was inaugurated as governor on January 12, 1876.

During the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, Governor Carroll called up the 5th and 6th Regiments of the state militia to stop railroad workers from striking in Cumberland, resulting in riots in Baltimore when the militia attempted to march from their armories to Camden Station.[5] Federal troops were then called in to restore order in Baltimore.

In later years, Carroll served on the Howard County Board of Education[6] and served in 1883 on an early grand jury that used both Caucasian and African American members.[7]

Governor Carroll was a member of the District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the Revolution.

Marriage & children[edit]

Arms of Carroll of Maryland

Carroll was married twice, first to Anita Phelps (April 23, 1838 – March 24, 1873), daughter of Royal Phelps of New York, on April 24, 1856. They had nine children:

  • Charles Lee Carroll (October 5, 1857 – 1858)
  • Mary Louisa Carroll (b. May 26, 1859); married Comte Jean de Kergorlay of France
  • Anita Maria Carroll (b. March 28, 1861); married Baron Louis de la Grange of France
  • Royal Phelps Carroll (b. October 29, 1863)
  • Charles Carroll (b. January 12, 1865)
  • Albert Henry Carroll (October 6, 1866 – 1867)
  • Mary Irene Carroll (March 3, 1869 – November 8, 1888)
  • John Lee Carroll (February 26, 1871 – c. 1895)
  • Mary Helen Carroll (b. 1873)

Carroll was married secondly to Mary Carter Thompson (1847–1899), daughter of Judge Lucas P. Thompson, in April 1877. They had one son: Philip Acosta Carroll (b. May 10, 1879 – July 1957). Mary Thompson's sister Caroline Thompson was married to John Lee's older brother, Charles Carroll (1828–1895). As of 2012, Philip's grandchildren owned Doughoregan Manor, the family estate in Howard County.

Carroll died in Washington, D.C. and was buried at the Bonnie Brae Cemetery (New Cathedral Cemetery) in Baltimore City, Maryland.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Maryland Governor John Lee Carroll". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "John Lee Carroll (1830–1911)". Maryland State Archives. March 14, 2001. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ Buchholz, Heinrich Ewald (1908). Governors of Maryland: from the revolution to the year 1908 (2 ed.). Williams & Wilkins. p. 215. 
  4. ^ The Grand River Times. October 17, 1855. 
  5. ^ Scharf, John Thomas (1967) [1879]. History of Maryland From the Earliest Period to the Present Day 2. Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press. pp. 733–42. 
  6. ^ Archives of Maryland Manual 154. p. 56. 
  7. ^ The Washington Post. March 21, 1883. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Snyder
President of the Maryland State Senate
Succeeded by
Daniel Fields
Preceded by
James B. Groome
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
William T. Hamilton