Charles Carroll of Carrollton (his complete name) was born in 1737 into a wealthy Catholic family in Annapolis, Maryland. He began his education at the age of eight when he was sent to study in France. He eventually completed his work and returned to the United States at the age of 28.

He visited the Continental Congress in 1776 and was enlisted in a diplomatic mission to Canada along with Dr. Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Chase. Shortly after his return, the Maryland Convention decided to join in support for the Revolutionary War. Carroll was elected to represent Maryland on the 4th of July, and though he was too late to vote for the Declaration, he did sign it.

He served in the Continental Congress on the Board of War through much of the War of Independence and simultaneously participated in the framing of a constitution for Maryland. In 1778, he returned to Maryland to participate in the formation of the state government. He was elected to the Maryland Senate in 1781 and to the first Federal Congress in 1788. He returned again to the State Senate in 1790 and served there for ten years. He retired from that post in 1800. Charles Carroll was the last surviving member of those who signed the Declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 96.