July 4, 1828 saw an interesting juxtaposition of two revolutionary movements in American history. Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the last survivor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the most successful group of revolutionaries in the history of Man. He was a vigorous ninety years old on July 4, 1828.
A very old man, he embraced the new technology of steam railroads that were in the process of revolutionizing land transportation. Having retired from public life in 1801, he came out of retirement in 1827 to help establish the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, the first common carrier railroad in the United States, becoming a stockholder and serving on the board of directors.
A huge public ceremony was held on July 4, 1828 to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone of the B & O in Baltimore. Vast crowds came out to see Charles Carroll turn the initial spade full of dirt for the cornerstone of the railroad. An interesting use of a historical figure from one era, to symbolically open a new era.