Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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C0VODE, John, congressman, born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, 17 March, 1808; died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 11 January, 1871. He was of Dutch descent, spent his early years on a farm, and, after serving a short apprenticeship to a blacksmith, engaged in the coal trade. He afterward became a large woollen manufacturer, and a stockholder and director in several railroad lines. After two terms in the legislature, he was elected to congress as an anti-Masonic Whig in 1854, and re-elected as a republican in 1856, serving four terms, from 1855 till 1863. In his second term he made a national reputation by his vigor and penetration as chairman of the special committee appointed to investigate charges against President Buchanan. His report, published by order of congress (Washington, 1860), attracted much attention. He earnestly supported President Lincoln's administration, being an active member of the joint committee on the conduct of the war. President Johnson sent Mr. Covode south to aid in the reconstruction of the disaffected states; but he did not see matters as the president desired, and was recalled. Mr. Covode was again elected to congress in 1868, his seat being unsuccessfully contested by his opponent, and was active in opposing the president. He was chairman of the republican state committee of Pennsylvania in 1869, and declined a renomination to congress in 1870. He was recognized in his state as a strong political power. His unthinking impetuosity made him many bitter enemies, but his honesty and geniality won him innumerable friends. He was known as "Honest John Covode."
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