Colonial Settlement Brent Family Archbishop John Carroll, S.J., Another Legacy of Religious Toleration

Archbishop John Carroll, S.J., Another Legacy of Religious Toleration

(First American Catholic archbishop and founder of Georgetown College [now University] was connected with the Brents of Stafford.)

It was to Stafford that Father John Carroll, S.J., sailed from England. Born in 1735 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, John Carroll was the brother of Daniel Carroll II (“The Commissioner”), a signer of the U. S. Constitution, Eleanor Carroll Brent, and Anne Carroll Brent. Thus, he was also the brother-in-law of William Brent (III) of “Richland” and Robert Brent of “Woodstock” (1730-1780). Educated in England, Carroll returned by ship to Aquia and the Wide Water plantation, “Richland,” in June 1774. In 1776, he assisted the Quebec mission of Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Daniel Carroll of Carrollton enlisting French Canadian support for the Revolution. Father Carroll subsequently preached in Wide Water and returned to preach in later years at “Richland.” He became the Bishop of Baltimore (1790) and first American archbishop.

Archbishop John Carroll founded Georgetown College (University) in 1789. He may well have borrowed from his in-laws’ experience as, although the college was staffed by Jesuits, it was conceived always to welcome and educate members of other faiths. (Image by Gilbert Stuart)