20 Sep 2010

Lost Capitol Hill: Duddington

Map of DC in 1790 showing Daniel Carroll's holdingsI have been meaning to write about this particular house for quite a while, but kept being stymied by the incredible numbers of Daniel and Charles Carrolls involved in the story. Taking advantage of a quiet weekend, I have teased out the different strands of this remarkable family, and bring you the story of one of the grandest houses in the District of Columbia in its earliest years.

Daniel Carroll of Duddington (1764-1849) was the son of Charles Carroll of Duddington (1729-1773) (sometimes also referred to as Charles Carroll of Carrollsburg, and not to be confused with his cousin, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, (1737-1832) signer of the Declaration of Independence).

Charles Carroll of Duddington had inherited a large tract of land from his father, Daniel Carroll of Duddington (1707-1734), who had in turn received it when he married Ann Rozer.

Daniel Carroll was one of those who owned a fair piece of the Federal City in 1790, in fact, he owned all of the land on which the Capitol now sits.

Carroll of Duddington never made the money from this stroke of fortune that he had hoped. It all began when he built a new home for himself in 1791 – unfortunately, right where Pierre L’Enfant had planned for New Jersey Avenue SE was to run. Major L’Enfant had the house torn down in the middle of the night. Carroll, who was not a part of a prominent family for nothing, complained to President Washington, as well as to the Commissioners of DC. As one of these was Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek, his father’s second cousin, it is unsurprising that his complaint fell on fertile ground, and in short order, L’Enfant had been fired, and the commissioners had paid Daniel Carroll $4,000 for his pains.

Thus in 1793, Daniel Carroll was ready to begin again. This time, he built entirely within square 736. The four acres of ground were enclosed by a brick wall, and within were – along with the grand mansion – a number of smaller buildings, including servants quarters. Pictures from the time show a wide two-story house with a large porch out front. It was built in the simple Federal style of the time.

Duddington Manor, ca 1880. This is pretty much the only picture remaining of the house (Library of Congress)

Carroll had expected his land, most of which was east of the Capitol, to rapidly rise in value. After all, L’Enfant’s plan had promised as much. Unfortunately, the Frenchman was no longer in charge, and for various reasons (not the least of which being that Daniel Carroll demanded far too much for his lands) DC grew up to the west of the Capitol.

Daniel Carroll retreated into his house, and spent much of the later years of his life a recluse there. His unmarried daughters continued to live there after his death in 1849, but in 1886, they sold out the lands to a developer, the mansion was razed, and replaced with simple worker’s rowhouses. All that remains to remind us of this once-grand mansion is the short street Duddington Place, which runs from 1st to 2nd Streets SE between E and F.

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4 responses to “Lost Capitol Hill: Duddington”

  1. Shirley Parker McGeoghegan says:

    I’m lost in the Daniels and Charles’ of the Carroll family as well, can you tell me if the following secondary sources are accurate?

    Author: William Richard Cutter
    Title: New England Families Genealogical and Memorial. Vols. I-IV. New York: n.p., 1915. Vol 4, pp. 1994-5
    Text: Abigail, “…daughter of Daniel Carroll, of Montpelier, a niece of Charles Carroll of Carollton, Maryland, signer of the Declaration of Independence.”

    Author: Nahum S. Cutler, Compiler.
    Title: A Cutler Memorial and Genealogical History.
    DAVID* CUTLER (Jonathan,* David,4 Jonathan,* Thomas,* John1) was born in Montpelier, Vt., October 4, 1783. He married, January 14, 1807, Abigail, daughter of Daniel Carroll of Montpelier, a neice of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Md., of Revolutionary fame. … she died August 17, 1S77. aged ninety.

    Charles of Carrollton, the signer, was an only child according to Wikipedia, but in Kate Mason Rowland’s The life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Daniel “of Duddington” is listed with him as one of the children of Charles2 and Mary Darnall Carroll.

    Any help in verifying Abigail Carroll Cutler’s relationship would be much appreciated!

  2. Thom Riehle says:

    It wasn’t always Duddington Place.

    “And then I lived at Second Street, right on the corner of Second and Heckman. It’s Duddington now, but it was Heckman Street when I lived over there. Elgin Baylor lived down there, played in ball…” says Cornelia Mitchell, in her interview for the Overbeck Tapes, describing her life on Capitol Hill in the 1930s and 1940s.


  3. The Daniel Carroll who owned the land where Capitol Hill stands was a dfferent one, who signed the Consitution. Daniel (July 22, 1730 – July 5, 1796) was from Upper Marlboro, and his brother was John Carroll, the first Archbishop in the Americas. His sister was Ann Carroll, the mother of Colonel William Brent, my direct ancestor.

    • Rob, Portland says:

      Responding to an old thread, but here goes nothing/ My ancestor is Daniel Carroll, the signer. Who was his father? I have seen many conflicting reports.

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