John Covode

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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 by Vacant
Succeeded by Henry D. Foster
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st district
In office
March 4, 1867 – March 3, 1869
Preceded by John L. Dawson
Succeeded by Vacant
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 19th district
In office
March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1863
Preceded by Augustus Drum
Succeeded by Glenni W. Scofield
Personal details
Born (1808-03-17)March 17, 1808
Fairfield, Pennsylvania
Died January 11, 1871(1871-01-11) (aged 62)
Political party Whig

John Covode (March 17, 1808 – January 11, 1871) was a United States Congressman and abolitionist.

Early life[edit]

Covode was born in West Fairfield, Pennsylvania. After serving an apprenticeship to a blacksmith, he became involved in the Westmoreland Coal Company, serving as the first president of the company in 1854.[1]

United States House of Representatives[edit]

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.


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 Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

Covode Committee[edit]

Covode is most famous for chairing a committee to investigate the possibility of impeaching President James Buchanan during the spring and summer of 1860.

United States House election, 1870[edit]

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[edit]


External links[edit]


  • 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