Philip Carroll, the 86-year-old patriarch of historic Doughoregan Manor in Ellicott City, died Saturday and was buried Tuesday at what was called a simple graveside service for fewer than two dozen people at the nearly three-century-old Carroll family estate.
Mr. Carroll was a direct descendent of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Philip Carroll led a famously private family and had worked for years to keep the public away from the remaining 892 acres of a farm that was once more than 10,000 acres. His family declined to speak about his death or his life. Those close to the family who spoke about Mr. Carroll's funeral arrangements would do so only if not identified.
"Dad didn't want a whole lot of notice," said Camilla Carroll, his daughter, who also lives on the estate with her family. Her brother, Philip Delafield Carroll, is another survivor, along with two grandsons, Philip and Harper Carroll. Camilla Carroll's comment came in an e-mail in which she declined to give further information. A short death notice appeared in the Tuesday edition of The New York Times.
The notice said that Philip Carroll died "after a long illness" but did not reveal the cause of death.
"He was born in New York City on August 9, 1924 to Nina Ryan and Philip Acosta Carroll. He attended Harvard (class of '46) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School," the notice said, adding that he served as a combat engineer in World War II and was a member of the bar in both New York and Maryland.
His father died in Newport, R.I., in July 1957, according to news accounts in The Baltimore Sun at the time, and he married the former Clellia Delafield Le Boutillier in late 1958. She survives him.
The estate was created in the early 18th century by Charles Carroll, who, like many wealthy landowners at the time, used slaves to work the land. Doughoregan is the only home of a signer still in family hands.
Mr. Carroll's death comes just after approval by Howard County authorities of a series of bills, resolutions and zoning changes that will enable the family to reap tens of millions of dollars from developing new homes on 221 acres of their land while preserving the rest for generations of the family. The family placed 500 acres in the county's agricultural preservation program, which will pay them $19 million over two decades, plus interest. They have said they need the money to restore the manor house and other buildings and to keep the property in family hands.
Howard County Councilwoman Courtney Watson, a Democrat who represents the district that includes Doughoregan, said the deal will proceed as planned.
"It should not affect anything at Doughoregan," Ms. Watson said of Mr. Carroll's death. Local opponents are still waiting for the written zoning decision to be issued so they can decide whether to challenge it in court.
Former Councilman Charles C. Feaga, whose family farm has abutted Doughoregan since the 1930s, and whose wife, Barbara, used to visit there as a child, praised Philip Carroll as someone who was friendly with those county residents he knew had a shared history in the area.
He was "a very giving man" who "trusted people who had lived in the county for a while." Mr. Feaga said.
Mr. Feaga said Mr. Carroll opened his family chapel to neighbors as a place to worship for years. "That was a very generous thing. He was a real gentleman to anyone who knew him. I appreciated his honesty and his forthrightness," Mr. Feaga said.
Mr. Carroll worked increasingly over the past 30 years to keep the public away. He and others nearby petitioned the county in 1980 to close 3.7 miles of Manor Lane through his land, which was then about 2,500 acres, to keep away curious interlopers, vandals, drunken teens and the occasional marijuana farmer. In recent years, very few outsiders were invited in. The farm lies between Route 108 on the south and Frederick Road on the north, west of Centennial Lane.
Baltimore Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.