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John Strohm (congressman)

John Strohm (October 16, 1793 – September 12, 1884) was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Whig member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district from 1845 to 1849.

Early lifeEdit

John Strohm was born in the part of Little Britain Township which formed the current Fulton Township to David and Ann Herr Strohm. He was home-schooled by is mother and encouraged to read newspapers and books.[1]

At age twelve, his family moved to Strasbugh Township where his parents had been raised. For the next four years, he worked on the family farm and attended school for only three to four months during the winter until he reached age 16. After completing school, he continued working on the farm until 1815, except for a three-month period in 1813 where he taught school.

In the fall of 1815, at age 22, he again taught school. This time it was in West Lampeter Township from 1815-1821, after which he resumed farming. He moved to Providence Township in 1833 and lived there for forty-nine years.[2][3]

Political careerEdit

In 1830, without his knowledge, friends attempted to nominate him for the state Legislature. They were successful in the following year and he was elected, and twice re-elected, serving three consecutive one year terms.[2] He was elected as an anti-mason.[1]

In 1834, he was nominated and elected to the Pennsylvania Senate for the 6th district and served two four-year terms.

In 1845, he was elected to the United States Congress and served two two-year terms.[1]

Political Office ChronologyEdit

Pennsylvania Senate HighlightsEdit

During his first term, Senator Strohm backed the chartering of the Second Bank of the United States as a state institution after its rechartering in the Bank War by the US Congress failed. The effort failed.

He supported Thaddeus Stevens's 1836 personal and property tax repeal and opposed the 1836 public school act.

In his second term, after the Buckshot War, he broke from his party as one of two dissenting votes that enabled Democrat Ebeneezer Kingsbury's passage of the 1840 tax-bill, which raised taxes at a time that the State was nearly insolvent. He also strongly advocated new revenue programs in support of the fledgling education system.

Strohm promoted freshman William Bigler's 1842 revenue-appropriations-bank bill. After Bigler spoke about his bill, Senator John Strohm prophetically said to Bigler: "Young man, that speech will make you Governor of Pennsylvania, if you behave yourself well hereafter." Bigler was elected governor in 1851.[1]

Congressional ServiceEdit

During his second term, he lived with Abraham Lincoln in a Washington, DC boarding house. Strohm was a pro-abolition Whig legislator. He retired from Congress in 1849.[1]

Post-Congressional PeriodEdit

Strohm returned to Pennsylvania worked as a Surveyor and served as Justice of the Peace in Providence from 1859 through 1880.

Strohm was a member of the board of directors of the Strasburg Bank during its founding. He was also a member of the board of the Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, being its secretary for thirty-six years and president for two years. He was president of the Big Spring and Beaver Valley Turnpike, and treasurer of the Providence Township School Board for six years.[2]

In 1882, Strohm moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He died there in 1884 at age 93 and was interred in the Mellinger Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster.[4][5]

Personal lifeEdit

Strohm was married in 1817 to Susannah Herr Barr, who died in 1832. After 23 years as a widower, he married Anne Witmer in 1857 after his time in Washington, DC.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Pennsylvania State Senate John Strohm Historical Biography".
  2. ^ a b c Ellis, Franklin; Evans, Samuel (1883). History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck. pp. 1021–1022.
  3. ^ "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, Strohm, John (1793-1884)".
  4. ^ "Political Graveyard, Index to Politicians, Strohm, John (1793-1884)".
  5. ^ "John Strohm". Retrieved 26 February 2019.
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
John Robinson
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate, 7th district
Succeeded by
John Harper
Preceded by
Paul Geiger
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate, 6th district
Succeeded by
James A. Caldwell
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jeremiah Brown
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Thaddeus Stevens