Decades before the Dollar Princesses such as Consuelo Vanderbilt stormed British society, there were the Caton sisters of Maryland. The Caton sisters were descendants of the Carroll family, early settlers of Maryland and wealthy landowners. Grandfather Charles Carroll was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Unlike most young ladies, Marianne, Bess, Louisa, and Emily enjoyed a rigorous education and were well informed on political and economic matters.
In a time when women couldn’t own property, Grandfather Carroll engineered various trusts and shell companies so that the girls were financially independent of husbands and their parents. From their grandfather, the girls learned how to manage a great plantation and how to invest.
Opinionated but polite, wealthy but modest, and Catholic, Regency England had never seen anything like the Caton girls.
Three of the sisters made England their home. Marianne, in love with the Duke of Wellington, married his older brother instead, as the Duke already had a wife. Louisa married Sir Felton Hervey, and then on his death, The Duke of Leeds. Elizabeth married Lord Stafford. Only Emily married a resident of North America, Canadian John McTavish.
From Dolly Madison’s White House to Queen Victoria’s court, the Caton girls are in the thick of 19th C Anglo-American affairs. This is an engaging portrait of a unique American family.