Portrait from the 1916 Georgetown University Yearbook.
Elected to the South Carolina State House of Representatives in November 1914, Tonquin E. LaGrone was one of the youngest men ever to serve as a member of the South Carolina General Assembly, and following his service went on to further prominence in law and business, serving as an assistant to the President of the University of South Carolina beginning in the late 1930s.
Tonquin Ebon LaGrone was born in Edgefield County, South Carolina on November 11, 1891. His unusual first name "Tonquin" has proven to be one of the more unique names I've managed to stumble across, and his middle name has been shown to be spelled as both "Ebon" and "Eben". He is recorded as attending the Batesburg High School and later enrolled at the University of South Carolina.
In July 1914 the then twenty-three-year-old T.E. LaGrone became a candidate for a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives and in November won the election. Taking his seat at the beginning of the 1915 legislative term, "Tonnie" LaGrone was just 24 years of age, one of the youngest serving members of the South Carolina House of Representatives in its history. During his one term in the legislature, LaGrone represented Saluda County and served on the following House committees: Roads, Bridges and Ferries, Offices and Officers and Local Legislation. LaGrone was also the author of a legislative act that advocated teaching domestic science and agriculture in the consolidated schools of the state.
While still an incumbent legislator, Tonquin LaGrone entered into the study of law at Georgetown University, graduating in the class of 1916. He would practice law in the cities of Greenville and Titusville and married on September 19, 1927 to Mary Katherine Gaines Guerry (1892-1989). The couple had one son, Tonquin Gaines LaGrone (1933-2011), who followed in his father's stead and became an attorney, practicing law for over forty years in the state of Florida.
Active in business as well as law, LaGrone became a sales manager for the CertainTeed Products Company and would serve as vice president of the Glenn Thread Company based in Lincolnton, North Carolina. In April 1939 he was selected by the University of South Carolina Board of trustees to be an assistant to university president J. Rion McKissick, and LaGrone's past affiliation with the school was noted by the university's newspaper as one of:
" Long unwavering loyalty to the university, his business experience, his pleasant personality, fine character and real ability will fit him well for service to his alma mater."
During his time with the University of South Carolina, Tonquin LaGrone returned to public service when he served as the executive secretary of the South Carolina State Salvage Committee beginning in 1942. LaGrone was later a resident of Lake County, Florida, and died there on February 28, 1956, aged 64. He was survived by his wife and son, all of whom are interred at the Lone Oak Cemetery in Leesburg, Florida.