All that part of Maryland now included in Carroll County had been before the formation
of that county a part of Frederick and Baltimore Counties. Shortly after conclusion of the
definitive peace with Great Britain, this rich agricultural area began to fill up rapidly, drawing
its settlers from Pennsylvania and the North as well as from the populated parts of Eastern
and Southern Maryland. By 1829, it had become thickly populated, and the need for a more
convenient place of county government began to be felt. To parts of the area involved, both
Fredericktown and Baltimore City were, according to the standards of the time, quite remote.
Various solutions to this problem were proposed but by December of that year the solution
which was finally adopted, that is the creation of a new county, had gained strong support.
The General Assembly considered such a solution, but no action was taken at that session.1
At the next session, another petition was presented praying the formation of a third
county from parts of Frederick and Baltimore Counties, but after the appearance of a counter-
petition, both were withdrawn.2 In January 1833, a meeting was held in Baltimore City by
a group of interested citizens and a new petition to the General Assembly was prepared which
if enacted would have named the county Westminster. Then followed another counterpetition
and more bitter agitation.3
Finally, Delegate William Cost Johnson of Frederick County introduced a resolution
which would, subject to a referendum of the areas affected, create a new county with approxi-
mately the present bounds and named after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who had died a
short time earlier. This bill was enacted March 2, 1833.4 At the election which followed, the
proposal did not carry in some of the districts affected, and an effort was begun to eliminate
these districts from the proposed new county; but before that could occur the constitutionality
of the whole procedure was questioned and the matter dropped, not to be revived until the
Session of 1835 when the admission of this new county was undertaken by means of an
amendment to the constitution.
The procedure at that time consisted in the passage of an initiating act by one session
of the General Assembly to be followed by a confirmatory act of the next General Assembly.
The two acts in this case were Chapter 256 of the Session of 1835 and Chapter 19 of the
Session of 1836. The date of passage of the last act was January 19, 1837, and since the
Governor's signature is not needed to validate amendments to the constitution, this is also
the actual date of the county's establishment.
First Courthouse at Westminster
The same General Assembly also passed a series of acts to provide the new county with a
government and public services, and among them was a measure to authorize the construction
of the necessary public buildings.5 This act provided for a special levy not to exceed $20,000
which was to pay for a suitable plot of ground in Westminster, the county seat, a courthouse,
a clerk's office, a register's office, a jail and a poorhouse. This fund was to be raised and
1 Proceedings of the Houne of Delegates, 1820, p. 357.
2 Proceedings, December Session 1831, p. 117.
3 Address of Hon. Francis Neal Parke at the Carroll County
Centennial Banquet, January 19th, 1937, no pagination, 4.
4 Ch. 812, Acts of 1832.
5Ch. 138, Acts of 1836.