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John Covode
John Covode - Brady-Handy.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st district
In office
February 9, 1870 – January 11, 1871
Preceded byVacant
Succeeded byHenry D. Foster
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st district
In office
March 4, 1867 – March 3, 1869
Preceded byJohn L. Dawson
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 19th district
In office
March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1863
Preceded byAugustus Drum
Succeeded byGlenni W. Scofield
Personal details
Born(1808-03-17)March 17, 1808
West Fairfield, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 11, 1871(1871-01-11) (aged 62)
Political partyWhig
Republican (after 1854)

John Covode (March 17, 1808 – January 11, 1871) was an American businessman and abolitionist politician. He served three stints in the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

Early life

Covode was born in Fairfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He worked for several years on his father's farm, served an apprenticeship to a blacksmith, and then was employed at a woolen mill in Lockport, Pennsylvania. He became owner of the woolen mill and attained considerable wealth as a woolen manufacturer.[1][2] Other business interests included the Westmoreland Coal Company, where he served as the first president of the company in 1854.[3] He served for two terms in the Pennsylvania Legislature[1](House of Representatives[2]). Two attempts to enter the Pennsylvania Senate were unsuccessful.[2]

United States House of Representatives

In 1854, he was elected to Congress as an Opposition Party candidate.

After joining the Republican Party, he was re-elected to the 35th Congress in 1856. He was a strong supporter of the Freedmen's Bureau, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the Reconstruction Acts. He attended the Union National Convention in Philadelphia in 1866. On February 21, 1868, Covode introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to impeach President Andrew Johnson. Johnson was impeached in the House, but the Senate did not vote to convict him.


He served as chairman of the United States House Committee on Public Expenditures from 1857 until 1859 and the United States House Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds from 1867 until 1869. He also served on the United States Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, in reference to the American Civil War.

Covode Committee

Covode is most famous for chairing a committee to investigate the possibility of impeaching President James Buchanan during the spring and summer of 1860. Officially titled the United States House Select Committee to Investigate Alleged Corruptions in Government, it is more popularly known as the Covode Committee after him.

United States House election, 1870

Covode contested with Henry D. Foster the election to the Forty-first Congress, neither being sworn pending the contest, as no credentials were issued by the Governor. On February 9, 1870, the House declared him duly elected, whereupon he qualified and served until his death. Covode died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, aged 62.


His oldest son, George H. Covode (1835–1864), was a colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. He died on June 25, 1864 after being shot in the arm and stomach by Confederate troops he had mistaken for Unionists.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Covode, John" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
  2. ^ a b c R. S. Cotterill (1930). "Covode, John". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  3. ^ Westmoreland Coal Company Archived 2007-02-17 at the Wayback Machine

External links


  • Chester, Edward W. "The Impact of the Covode Congressional Investigation." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 42 (December 1959): 343-50
  • Baker, Jean H.: James Buchanan, Times Books: 2004
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Augustus Drum
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 19th congressional district

Succeeded by
Glenni W. Scofield
Preceded by
John L. Dawson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
Henry D. Foster
This page was last edited on 10 September 2021, at 03:18
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