Thomas Fentress Toon was born in Columbus County, North Carolina June 10th 1840 the son of Anthony and Mary (McMillian) Toon. He began his education at Wake Forest College, graduating after the start of the Civil War and his own enlistment.
Toon joined the 20th North Carolina Infantry, starting as their First Lieutenant and moving quickly to Captain. After turning in a good showing at the battles of Seven Pines, South Mountain, and Fredericksburg, the men of the 20th elected Toon their Colonel. He led his regiment at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Mine Run. During the Overland Campaign, Toon took over command of the brigade, when his Brigadier General Robert D Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. He continued to lead the brigade during Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early’s raid on Washington, DC in July 1864. Johnston returned to command in August and Toon went back to the 20th. During the Confederate attack on Fort Stedman on March 25th 1865, he was wounded for the seventh time, ending his active duty.
Toon returned to North Carolina after the war ended. He served as the superintendent of public instruction. Toon died February 19th 1902 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina.