Member Biography

John Strohm 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1835-1836       7 Anti-Mason
1836-1837       6 Anti-Mason
1837-1838       6 Anti-Mason
1838-1839       6 Anti-Mason
1840       6 Anti-Mason
1841     Speaker 6 Anti-Mason

COUNTIES: York, Lancaster  


10/16/1793 - 09/12/1884

"Honest" John Strohm (Anti-Mason7) 1835-1836 (Anti-Mason6) 1836-1842


Early Life:

John Strohm “Honest John” (Anti-Mason), born October 16, 1793, Little Britain Township, Lancaster County, son of David and Ann Herr Strohm; home-schooled by his mother and encouraged to read newspapers and books; married Susanna Herr Barr (1792 - 1832), 1817; remarried Anne Witmer, 1857; eight children; died September 12, 1884 at the age of 91, interred in the Mellinger Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster.

Early Career:

Farmer and teacher.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected to the Pa. House of Representatives, 1831-1834; elected to Pa. Senate 1834, serving the 7th district, re-elected in 1838, serving the 6th district; chaired the Claims, Road, Bridges, and Inland Waterways, Pensions and Gratuities, and Internal Improvements; served as Speaker in 1842.

Congressional Career:

Elected United States House of Representatives (Whig), 1845, serving the 8th Congressional District; re-elected in 1847; delegate to the 1848 and 1852 Whig National Conventions; Delegate to the 1869 Pa. Republican State Convention.

After Political Career:

After returning to Pa., the Honorable Strohm returned to farming, 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 also president of the Big Spring and Beaver Valley Turnpike, and treasurer of the Providence Township School Board for six years.


Senator Strohm was known for his abolitionist beliefs, his honesty, and his intelligence. A quote from Col. A. K. McClure, describes Strohm as, “an Anti-Mason of high character and intelligence.” His honesty and moral compass empowered him to break 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. When Strohm was a congressman, he lived with another person known for his honesty and moral compass, Abraham Lincoln. During Lincoln’s time in Congress (1847-1849), Strohm lived in the same boarding house and Lincoln and his family.