John Covode was born in West Fairfield, Pennsylvania, on 17th March, 1808. Involved in the coal industry, Covode was active in the Whig Party and was elected to the 34th Congress in 1855.
An opponent of slavery Covode joined the Republican Party and was re-elected to the 35th Congress in 1857. Over the next few years he was associated with the group known as the Radical Republicans. Covode strongly supported the Freeman's Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill and the Reconstruction Acts. After the American Civil War Covode clashed with President Andrew Johnson and voted for his impeachment in 1868.
John Covode, who was chairman of the Committee of Public Expenditures (1857-59) and the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds (1867-69), remained in Congress until his death at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on 11th January, 1871.