Rep. John Tod, Esq

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Rep. John Tod, Esq

Birthplace: Suffield, Hartford County, Connecticut, United States
Death: March 27, 1830 (49)
Bedford, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Bedford Cemetery, Bedford, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of David Tod and Rachel Tod
Husband of Mary Read Tod
Father of Rachel Gilmore; Isabella Stewart Kerr; Julia Briggs; Henrietta Tod and Mary Tod
Brother of Lt. Col. George Tod

Occupation: Judge, Congressman, Lawyer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Rep. John Tod, Esq

He was the son of David Tod and Rachel Kent, and born in Suffield, Hartford county, Conn., in November, 1779. His father was a Scotchman by birth and a man of an original turn of mind, possessing much shrewdness, and a dry kind of wit, many of his sayings being familiarly repeated years after his decease. His mother was a native of the town of Suffield.

Young Tod received his preliminary education at the public schools of the village, but his classical education was pursued under the direction of the Rev. Mr. Gray, pastor of the Presbyterian church of that town. His rapid progress in his studies enabled him on examination to enter the junior class at Yale College, where he graduated two years afterwards with great credit and honor to himself.

After graduating he entered the office of his brother, George Tod, then a practicing lawyer in New Haven, and it is said was also a short time in the office of Gideon Granger, Postmaster General under President Adams. He was admitted to the bar of Hartford in 1800.

Shortly after he went to Virginia, where he filled the position of tutor in a family in one of the southern counties of that State. In 1802 he located at Bedford, Pa., where he did some clerical labor in the prothonotary's office, and the same year admitted to the bar there. His practice rapidly increased, and such was his standing and popularity in the county that he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1808, serving in that branch until 1813 - the last two sessions being speaker of that body.

In 1813 he was elected member of the State Senate, of which he served as presiding officer from 1814 to 1816. He was re-elected in 1816, but resigned the office December 20, 1816. In 1820 Mr. Tod was elected a member of congress, and again in 1822. The tariff question was the leading measure of Congress during the session of 1823-4. His speeches on the subject - particularly his opening speech, delivered on the 10th of February, 1824, and that with which he closed the debate on the 8th of April - are remarkable; the first for the data, facts, statistics and other important information it conveys - the second for its powerful and persuasive reasoning, fervid eloquence, wit and satire, all expressed in chaste and elegant language. Few subjects have elicited more masterly and brilliant displays from American statesmen.

On the 8th of June, 1824, he was appointed president judge of the Fifteenth judicial district, and thereupon resigned his seat in Congress. In May, 1827, he was appointed by Governor Shulze a justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He had been engaged with two other judges in holding a court at Lancaster, and becoming ill, hastened to his home at Bedford, where, after a brief illness, on the 27th of March, 1830, in the fifty-first year of his age, he breathed his last.

The character of Judge Tod was that of a plain, practical Republican - a downright honest man. Without the least ostentation or disguise he remarkably exemplified, in a Spartan simplicity of manners, the truth of his own sentiments - that there may be a social equality in the intercourse of men on all proper occasions without at all interfering with the difference conferred by intellect and education. He was too humble to think himself wiser than others, and too honest to account himself better.

The children of Mary Read Hanna and John Tod were Julia-Ann, m. John H. Briggs; Rachel, m. Samuel A. Gilmore, of Butler; Isabella, m. William M. Kerr, and Henrietta. Mrs. Briggs and Mrs. Kerr, both widows, reside at Harrisburg. []

Born September 24, 1780 at Suffield Township, Hartford, Connecticut, the Honorable John Tod was the son of David and Rachel (Kent) Tod, descended from 1761 Boston progenitor-immigrants Robert and Isabella Tod of Shire of Perth, Scotland. John and brother George attended tuition schools before entering Yale College, New Haven – both preparing for the law. George matriculated about 1797; however, no record indicates brother John qualified for graduation. John’s older brother quickly emerged as a promising attorney, and the future Speaker became his legal understudy. John received his law certificate about 1799, later moving with his father to Aquasco, Maryland, 1801-1802, where he assumed teaching duties as Assistant Master of Charlotte Hall. The family eventually relocated in New York, all but John and George, who settled in Pennsylvania and Ohio respectively.

In late 1802, Tod moved to Bedford, Pennsylvania “without a shilling in his pocket, carrying a pack upon his back,” relating to his brother George, “he pledged his only pair of silk stockings for his supper, lodging, and breakfast at the tavern at Bloody Run." Indicative of Tod’s rugged spirit, he informed George, “I have been three or four months taking a tramp among the Indian Tribes to the Westward. Had there been a road, I should have seen you in Youngstown.” Tod built a “weather boarded log-house … on the Public Square,” and in 1802, he resumed teaching school and preparing for a law career. Tod became a member of the Bedford County bar in 1803, postmaster of Bedford in 1805, and clerk of the Bedford County Commission from 1806 to 1807. In 1808, he was elected to the state House of Representatives, where he served through 1812. He married Mary Read Hanna (1810), daughter of General John Andre Hanna of Harrisburg, congressman and grandfather of notable U.S. representative Archibald McCallister.

Tod emerged as a skilled legislator and Speaker of the House in 1812, an honor followed by his election to the state Senate the following year. After enlisting as a private in the War of 1812, he returned to the upper house to become Speaker of the Senate, 1814 to 1817. He opposed soldier suffrage, since “elected” officers in the field might unduly influence voting; he favored a high federal tariff; he led a vote for approval of the construction of a new Harrisburg capitol building and supported a similar plan for a state library. Tod resigned his seat on December 20, 1816 to represent Bedford in the U.S. House, 1821-24. Representative Tod remained an advocate of a prohibitive “tariff,” serving as House Speaker Henry Clay’s chair of the Manufacturers Committee, a position that brought him in direct conflict with James Buchanan and those who supported a low impost on foreign woolens. As a member of the Military Affairs Committee, Tod promoted an adequately staffed, modern national army. In January 1824, Tod aligned with Samuel Ingham’s Family Faction, protesting the selection of presidential candidates during congressional nominating caucuses, noting that the privilege of selecting a candidate rested with the people, free from legislative interference.*

Governor Hiester appointed Tod, President Judge of the 16th District (Bedford), 1824 to 1827. He was an associate justice of the state supreme court from 1827 until his death at Bedford, March 27, 1830, at 51. Tod’s brother George settled in Ohio, where his son, David, served as Governor of the state during the Civil War, taking part in the Loyal Governors Conference at Altoona in late 1862. Brother George emerged as an important Ohio attorney and military figure, and is otherwise acknowledged by President Grant as the surrogate father of Jesse R. Grant, the president’s father.

John Tod, Some Account of the History of the Tod Family and Connections (Youngstown, Ohio: s.n., 1917), 33-34; Obituary Records of Graduates of Yale University (New Haven: The University, nd, pre-1956); Frank M. Eastman, Courts and Lawyers, Pennsylvania, vol. II (New York: American Historical Society, Inc., 1922), 457-458; Annals of Congress, 17th Congress, I Session, col. 1632; Philip Shriver Klein, Pennsylvania Politics, 1817-1832: A Game Without Rules ( Philadelphia: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1940), 151; Ulysses Simpson Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant in Two Volumes, vol. I (New York: C.L. Webster & Co., 1885-86), 2-3. []

In March–April 1824, John Tod was honored with a single vote at the Democratic-Republican Party Caucus to be the party's candidate for the Office of U.S. Vice President for the upcoming 1824 U.S. Presidential Election. Law. []

US Congressman. Born in Hartford, Conneticutt, he was educated at Yale College and moved to Pennsylvania, in 1800, where he taught school. There he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1803 and commenced practice in Bedford. He was clerk to the county commissioners of Bedford County (1806-07), member of the State House of Representatives (1810-13), served in the Pennsylvania State Senate as president (1814-16). In 1821, he was elected to the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Congresses, serving until he resigned in 1824. He was appointed associate judge of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court in 1827 and served until his death at age 51 in Bedford, Pennsylvania.* Reference: Find A Grave Memorial - SmartCopy: Jul 28 2019, 2:56:37 UTC

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Rep. John Tod, Esq's Timeline

September 24, 1780
Suffield, Hartford County, Connecticut, United States
April 7, 1823
March 27, 1830
Age 49
Bedford, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, United States
Bedford Cemetery, Bedford, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, USA