Doughoregan Manor

3500 Manor Lane, Ellicott City, Howard County, Maryland

Built in 1735, for Charles Carroll II (1702-1782), of Annapolis. Distinguished by its 300-foot facade and attached Catholic chapel for private worship, Doughoregan is the only residence of a Signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence (Charles Carroll III of Carrollton) that remains a private home - it is still lived in by the Carroll family today. It is said: "Only God, the Indians and the Carrolls have owned this land". Doughoregan Manor remains a family home and is not open to the public....

This house is best associated with...

Charles Carroll II

Charles Carroll II, of Annapolis & the Manor of Doughoregan, Maryland


Charles Carroll III

III, of Carrollton, Signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence


Charles Carroll V

Colonel Charles Carroll V, of Doughoregan Manor, Maryland


Charles Carroll VI

Charles Carroll VI, of Doughoregan Manor; died unmarried


John Lee Carroll

John Lee Carroll, of Doughoregan Manor; 37th Governor of Maryland


Charles Carroll

of Paris, New York, Newport, "Villa Himalaya" Menton & Doughoregan Manor


Philip Acosta Carroll

Philip Acosta Carroll, of Doughoregan Manor, Maryland


Philip Carroll

Philip Carroll Jr., of Doughoregan Manor, Maryland


In 1688, Charles Carroll I (1661-1720) arrived from Ireland as the new Attorney-General of Maryland. By the time of his death in 1720, he was the colony's wealthiest citizen, but only two of his eleven children survived him: the eldest, Charles Carroll II of Annapolis, was given - among other estates - the Manor of Doughoregan, comprised of 10,000-acres, and so named for another that had once belonged to the Carrolls in Ireland.

Charles Carroll II is best associated with his townhouse in Annapolis, the "Charles Carroll House," but he also built the original one-and-a-half story brick house at Doughoregan  with a gambrel roof and separate kitchen. It was beautifully situated and built on an artificial knoll in front of six old elms said to be among the finest in the state. 


Family tradition places Doughoregan's year of construction at 1735 and though the year 1727 is more often given, historians and researchers alike are unclear as to why. Architectural historians can only agree that the original Georgian house was built by Charles Carroll II sometime between 1720 and 1757. The T-shaped chapel - where his family could practise their Catholic faith and which still forms part of the manor today - is also thought to have been built by him, sometime before 1757.

In 1743, Charles II started a tradition for thoroughbred racing at Doughoregan when his horse was beaten in the first Annapolis Subscription Plate by George Hume Steuart's horse, "Dungannon". The tradition was still going strong in the 1930s when the annual Howard County Horse Show was held here, attracting crowds in their thousands.   

The Signer, Charles Carroll III of Carrollton

Charles Carroll III (1737-1832), of Carrollton, was the only son of Charles Carroll II and the sole heir to his 70,000-acres, which included the Manor of Doughoregan that in 1782 encompassed 13,000-acres. During the first part of his life, Charles III lived at Annapolis, but from 1766 he started spending his summers at Doughoregan with his wife, Mary Darnall (1748-1782). From 1797, he began making improvements to the manor in which he would live out his final three decades. From a lithograph taken prior to his death, it shows Doughoregan as a double-pile, gambrel-roofed, brick house of five bay windows with a pedimented, arcaded portico of three bays, flanked by two matching dependencies.

Charles III was the only Catholic - and the longest-living - Signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. At Doughoregan, he followed the example of the Ellicott brothers and planted grain with great success. He also became the county's unofficial banker, lending money to farmers so they could employ his farming methods and follow in his success.

The Life of the 18th Century Squire of Doughoregan

The entrance hall at Doughoregan is panelled and painted with English hunting scenes. To its right is the library and drawing room - both panelled in oak with a selection of portraits - where Charles III spent much of his time. To the left of the hall is the oak-panelled dining room with a recessed clock in the wall. The billiard room displays a vast oil painting (dated 1790) showing Charles III bidding farewell to his son who was then leaving to be educated in France: a ship is in the distance while his sisters weep and the slaves look sorrowful.

Charles III's routine at the manor included taking a bath every morning in a limestone pool, riding his stallion around the perimeter of the estate, and taking to his study or library to read his favorite authors: Cicero (his favorite book was Cicero's "De Senectute"), Milner, Swift, Homer, Virgil and Blackstone. Several distinguished guests came to stayed as his guest here including Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Monroe; Founding Fathers John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin; and, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville.

At his death in 1832, Charles III was said to be the wealthiest man in America (worth circa $1,650,000) and he is buried at the family's private chapel attached to the house. His only son, Charles Carroll IV (1775-1825) of Homewood House, had married Harriet Chew (1775-1861) of Cliveden, but he was an alcoholic and predeceased his father. As such, Charles IV and Harriet's eldest son, Colonel Charles Carroll V (1801-1862), now became the principal heir to his grandfather and inherited Doughoregan with its 12,000-acres and 200-slaves.

Doughoregan in the 19th Century

In 1832, Colonel Charles Carroll V took up residence with his wife, Mary Digges Lee (1799-1859), and was the first in the family to be styled "of Doughoregan". As his grandfather had aged, the estate had deteriorated with him and so the Colonel set about dedicating his life to improving the property. He made the final enlargements to the manor in 1840, giving it the Greek Revival-style it has today. He also enlarged the chapel (to seat 300) that was attached to the house and added a marble altar and monument to his grandfather designed by the sculptor Edward Bartholomew. Up until the 1990s when the chapel became too overcrowded, the Carrolls had opened it every Sunday to Catholics for mass.

Charles V died in 1862 and left Doughoregan to his eldest son, Charles Carroll VI (1827-1895). Under his tenure, the plantation was used to store ammunition for supporters of the Confederacy  during the Civil War. From 1876 to 1907, it even had its own post office.

Charles VI married, but died without issue. In his will, he passed the manor to his brother, The Hon. John Lee Carroll (1830-1911), 37th Governor of Maryland, who took up residence with his second wife, Mary Carter Thompson (1847-1899). The Governor had nine children by his first marriage to Anita Phelps (1838-1873), including his eldest surviving son, Charles Carroll (1865-1921), who inherited Doughoregan on his death in 1911.

Doughoregan into the 20th Century & Beyond

Charles and his wife had been living in Paris, France, but returned home in 1912 to take residence at Doughoregan. At some stage, Charles Carroll (1865-1921) transferred ownership of the manor to his only half sibling, Philip Acosta Carroll (1879-1957). In 1923, Philip married his first wife, Nina Ryan (1897-1989). After his death in 1957, Doughoregan was inherited by their son, Philip Carroll (1924-2010), who shouldered the heavy responsibility of steering the manor through perhaps its toughest years.

Philip Carroll Jr., "a real gentleman to anyone who knew him," was forced to make some tough decisions in order to keep the estate and towards the end of his life it was touch-and-go as to whether there was any chance the family could manage to hold on to it. Having to endure that alone would have been difficult enough, but it was made worse by vandals, drunks, and curious ramblers stumbling up to goggle at his private home.

In 1971, Doughoregan was designated a National Historic Landmark and a few years later it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1980, Carroll and other residents successfully petitioned the county to make Manor Lane a private road in a bid to keep unwanted visitors at bay. For some time preservationists hovered over the house with the hope of turning it into a museum, but a resident of Ellicott City echoed the thoughts of many when he was quoted in the Baltimore Sun, "I don't have any need for it to be made open to the public... Just knowing it's there is enough".

In 1980, the estate still retained 2,500-acres, but just twenty years later it was reduced to 892-acres in an effort to keep the house and others on the estate in good repair. In 2008, an agreement was reached with Erickson Retirement Communities to develop 221-acres, generating some much needed income while also benefitting the local community. Another 500-acres was given over to the county's agricultural preservation program which will again hopefully raise enough to keep Doughoregan in Carroll hands for future generations to come. Today, Doughoregan is home to - and run by - the late Philip Carroll's two children, Camilla Carroll and her brother Philip Delafield Carroll.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 30/10/2018 and last updated on 24/02/2021.


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