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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesSouth Carolina

Laurence Massillon KEITT

(1824-1864)

KEITT, Laurence Massillon, a Representative from South Carolina; born in Orangeburg District, S.C., October 4, 1824; pursued classical studies and was graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1843; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1845 and commenced practice in Orangeburg; member of the state house of representatives, 1848-1853; elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-third and Thirty-fourth Congresses and served from March 4, 1853, to July 16, 1856, when he resigned after the Thirty-fourth Congress censured him on July 15, 1856, for his role in the assault made upon Senator Charles Sumner on May 22, 1856; again elected to the Thirty-fourth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by his own resignation; reelected to the Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth Congresses and served from August 6, 1856, until his retirement in December 1860; chairman, Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds (Thirty-fifth Congress); delegate to the secession convention of South Carolina; member of the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Ala., in February 1861 and in Richmond, Va., in July 1861; raised the Twentieth South Carolina Regiment of Volunteers and was commissioned its colonel on January 11, 1862; subsequently promoted to the rank of brigadier general; wounded in the Battle of Cold Harbor, near Richmond, Va., and died as a result of his wounds the following day, June 4, 1864; interment in the family cemetery, near St. Matthews, S.C.

Bibliography

Merchant, John H., Jr. “Laurence M. Keitt: South Carolina Fire Eater.” Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1976.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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