Keitt, Lawrence Massillon

Life Span
    Full name
    Lawrence Massillon Keitt
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    Other Education
    South Carolina College
    Attorney or Judge
    Confederate government (1861-65)
    US House of Representatives
    Confederate Army

    Lawrence Massillon Keitt (American National Biography)

    Keitt was present in the Senate chamber when Brooks caned Sumner in May 1856. Keitt approved of Brooks's actions as the necessary duty of a southern gentleman of honor, and he himself brandished a cane to warn off bystanders from coming to Sumner's assistance. Censured by the House of Representatives for his part in the affair, Keitt resigned from Congress on 16 July 1856. Shortly reelected to his seat in a special election, he returned to Congress convinced that his honor had been vindicated. In a more serious breach of self-control in February 1858, Keitt attacked Galusha Grow, a Republican representative from Pennsylvania, when Grow crossed over to the Democratic side of the House in the midst of a bitter debate over the admission of Kansas. Keitt did apologize to the House for his actions, but he refused to do so to Grow…

    With the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860, Keitt immediately called on his fellow South Carolinians to "shatter this accursed Union." He left Washington on 10 December 1860 and returned home, where he served as a delegate to the South Carolina secession convention. He was also a member of the provisional Confederate Congress that met in Montgomery, Alabama. Suspecting that Jefferson Davis was a reluctant secessionist who favored a reunion with the North, Keitt unsuccessfully backed Howell Cobb of Georgia for the presidency of the confederacy.
    William L. Barney, "Keitt, Laurence Massillon," American National Biography Online, February 2000,

    Lawrence Massillon Keitt (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    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.
    "Keitt, Laurence Massillon," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Walther, Eric H. The Fire-Eaters. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992. view record
    How to Cite This Page: "Keitt, Lawrence Massillon," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,