Baltimore’s Forgotten Pioneers
Sharing Their Story
Carroll’s Hundred and Baltimore are forever joined by their geography, economics, and history. Little is known about this important relationship, but a fascinating story is emerging here after many years of historical and archaeological research at the site. The discoveries at Carroll’s Hundred are fundamental to our understanding of Baltimore, its central role in the rise of American industrial dominance in the twentieth century, and most importantly who propelled it there. It is time for the contributions of these American pioneers to be fully recognized and appreciated.
Our story explores the true source of American greatness — the diversity and ingenuity of its people. Even in 18th-century Maryland, they represented an astonishing array of cultural backgrounds and ethnicities ranging from the indigenous peoples of the Americas, to Africans, to Northern Europeans. Starting in the 1730s, these new Americans were creating a social fabric in the Upper Chesapeake region — one we would recognize today as typically Mid-Atlantic — hard-working people of vastly different ethnicity and culture who were creating a revolutionary new society and a new industry.
The story begins in 1732, when King George I granted a land patent for Carroll’s Hundred (originally known as Georgia) to Dr. Charles Carroll. Carroll valued the area principally for its forests, its bog iron deposits, its suitability for tobacco, and its proximity to a natural harbor with prime shipping access to English markets. It had all the resources needed to manufacture iron and grow tobacco on an industrial scale. By the 1770s, the vast iron plantation at Carroll’s Hundred, now owned by the Doctor’s son, was a quarter mile to the west of Baltimore Towne. Its enslaved and indentured workers were pioneering an entirely new type of industrial iron manufacturing, a precursor to assembly line mass production. Not only did they produce munitions for the Revolution, they also paved the way for what would become the American city known for its “king of steel” in the 1950s – Baltimore’s Bethlehem Steel Company at Sparrow’s Point – the second largest producer of steel in the world.
A Silent Revolution
2 Morgan, Philip D. Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake & Low Country. Chapel and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
How Will We Tell This Story?
Explore the many dimensions of Carroll’s Hundred through links to archaeology, educational activities, historical information, news, and ways to become involved.