John Littleton Dawson

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John L. Dawson
John Littleton Dawson (Pennsylvania Congressman).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st district
In office
March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1867
Preceded byJames K. Moorhead
Succeeded byJohn Covode
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 20th district
In office
March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855
Preceded byJohn Allison
Succeeded byJonathan Knight
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 18th district
In office
March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1853
Preceded byAndrew J. Ogle
Succeeded byJohn McCulloch
Personal details
Born(1813-02-07)February 7, 1813
Uniontown, Pennsylvania
DiedSeptember 18, 1870(1870-09-18) (aged 57)
Springfield Township, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic

John Littleton Dawson (February 7, 1813 – September 18, 1870) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

Early life and education[edit]

Dawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania and grew up in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Washington College with a degree in law, was granted admission to the bar in 1835, and ran a small law practice. He served as deputy attorney general for Fayette County, Pennsylvania in 1838, and as district attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania from 1845 until 1848.

Political career[edit]

In 1848 he unsuccessfully ran for congress as a Democrat, but on subsequent attempts he was elected and served in the 32nd and 33rd congresses, from March 4, 1851 until March 3, 1855, when he stepped down, declining the nomination for the next term. While serving as a congressman he was the chairman of the Committee on Agriculture.

During his time away from congress, President Franklin Pierce offered him the governorship of Kansas Territory, but he declined so that he could run for congress again, which he was elected to again in 1863, and served on the 38th and 39th congresses from March 4, 1863 until March 3, 1867. His vote on the Thirteenth Amendment is recorded as nay.

He was a delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1844, 1848, 1860, 1868.

He retired to his home in Springfield Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania where he died at age 57. He was interred at Christ Episcopal Churchyard in Brownsville.

In 1860 he was honored as the namesake of Dawson County, Nebraska in what was then Nebraska Territory.


  • United States Congress. "John Littleton Dawson (id: D000153)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • The Political Graveyard
  • Infoplease: John Littleton Dawson biography
  • Nebraska State Historical Society timeline
  • John Littleton Dawson at Find a Grave
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Andrew Jackson Ogle
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district

Succeeded by
John McCulloch
Preceded by
John Allison
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 20th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jonathan Knight
Preceded by
James K. Moorhead
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
John Covode