John B. Weber

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John B. Weber
John Baptiste Weber (ca. 1862).gif
John B. Weber
BornSeptember 21, 1842 (1842-09-21)
Buffalo, New York
DiedDecember 18, 1926 (1926-12-19) (aged 84)
Lackawanna, New York
Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Union Army
Years of serviceAugust 7, 1861 - 1864
RankUnion Army colonel rank insignia.png Colonel
Other work
  • Assistant Postmaster of the City of Buffalo 1871-1873
  • Sheriff of Erie County 1874-1876
  • United States Congressman for the 33rd Congressional District 1885-1889
  • Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1888
  • First Commissioner of Immigration at the Port of New York 1890-1893
  • Grade-crossing commissioner of the city of Buffalo 1888-1908
  • Commissioner General of the Pan-American Exposition 1901
  • Chairman of the Erie County Home Defense Committee during World War I

John Baptiste Weber (September 21, 1842 – December 18, 1926) was a U.S. Representative from New York.

Early life[edit]

John Weber was born at his parents' cottage on Oak Street in Buffalo, New York. His parents, Philippe Jacob Weber and Mary Anne Weber (née Young), had emigrated to the United States in 1833 from Leutenheim, Alsace and settled in Buffalo.[1] John was the youngest boy of a family of four children.[1] He started attending Public School #4 at the age of four. His education continued through the Central School of Buffalo when he began to work as an "errand boy".

In 1856, at the age of 14, John Weber joined the New York State Militia. He served in Company F of the 65th regiment as their color guard.[1]

Civil War service[edit]

John Weber enlisted in the Civil War as a private in the Forty-fourth Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry on August 7, 1861. By August 30, he had been promoted to the rank of corporal. On January 2, 1862, Corporal Weber was again promoted to the rank of sergeant.[2]

During the Battle of Yorktown, on April 3, 1862, Weber was promoted from sergeant of Company A to sergeant major.[2]

Following Lieutenant Weber's service in the Forty-fourth Regiment, he was promoted to first lieutenant and appointed adjutant by Colonel Chapin. During this time Lieutenant Weber helped with recruiting for the newly formed One Hundred and Sixteenth New York regiment in the summer of 1862.[3]

89th United States Colored Infantry[edit]

On September 19, 1863, Weber attained the rank of colonel, two days before his twenty-first birthday, when he accepted command of the Eighty-ninth United States Colored Infantry. He chose the appointment to the colored regiment over the appointment to a Massachusetts regiment.[4] The 89th regiment was organized out of Port Hudson, Louisiana between October 8 and November 9, 1863 being designated the "18th Infantry, Corps d'Afrique".[5][6] Early in 1864, during the Red River Campaign, Weber had the majority of his men reassigned leaving him only a handful. To rebuild his numbers he was promised replacements from the slaves that were expected to be liberated during the campaign. These replacements were never acquired and Weber learned from a member of General Banks staff that his unit was to be consolidated. Rather than waiting to be discharged, Weber offered his resignation and returned to Buffalo arriving on July 8, 1864.[7][8] The war ended before he received another command.

From Congressman to Commissioner of Ellis Island[edit]

Following the war, Colonel Weber began his involvement in politics. His early efforts involved helping to organize the Republican Third Ward "Grant Club" and serving as its president in 1867.[9] The Third Ward Grant Club was involved in the presidential run of General Ulysses S. Grant in 1868. In the area of local politics, Weber helped to reform the rules for the election of county committeemen. The reforms gave voters a greater share in selecting candidates for these offices.[9]

He served as assistant postmaster of Buffalo 1871–1873. Sheriff of Erie County 1874–1876.

He engaged in the wholesale grocery business.

At the Republican Convention for the Thirty-third Congressional District, held at Niagara Falls, New York on September 3, 1884, John Weber was decided upon by a vote of 10–8 to be the Republican candidate for the Congressional seat.[10] Weber was elected as a Republican to the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses (March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1889). He was unsuccessful when he sought reelection in 1888 for a seat in the Fifty-first Congress.

He served as delegate to the Republican National Convention at Chicago in 1888. Weber was appointed the Grade-Crossing Commissioner of the city of Buffalo. He held this post from 1888 to 1908.

In 1890 Weber was appointed as the first Commissioner of Immigration at the port of New York. On the opening day of Ellis Island, January 1, 1892, Colonel Weber gave a $10 gold Liberty coin to 17-year-old[11] Annie Moore, who was the first foreigner to pass U.S. federal immigrant inspection at Ellis Island.[12] He held this position until 1893. Weber also served as commissioner general of the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo in 1901.


Weber died at home on Abbott Road in Lackawanna, New York, on December 18, 1926, at the age of 84. He was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. The grave marker is inscribed "Colonel 89th U.S. Infantry".[13]


In Lackawanna, the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post is named after Colonel Weber.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Early Years". Colonel John B. Weber Monument Association, Corp. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  2. ^ a b Nash, Eugene Arus (1910). A History Of The Forty-fourth Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, In The Civil War, 1861-1865. pp. 68, 463.
  3. ^ History of Erie County (PDF). pp. 273–275 Chapter XXVIII One Hundred and Sixteenth Regiment and Other Regiments.
  4. ^ "Lackawanna Civil War Encampment". Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  5. ^ "89th Infantry, US Colored Troops". Civil War Colored Troops Units with New York Soldiers or Officers. New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  6. ^ Phisterer, Frederick (1912). New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company.
  7. ^ "The Resignation of Col. Weber". Battle-field Correspondence. [Correspondence of the Delaware Express.] The Delaware Express. May 17, 1863. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  8. ^ "Personal—Complimentary To Col. John R. Weber". Local And Miscellaneous. Buffalo Morning Express. July 9, 1864. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Post War Years". History. Colonel John B. Weber Monument Association, Corp. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  10. ^ "John B. Weber for Congress" (PDF). The New York Times. September 4, 1884.
  11. ^ Smolenyak, Megan (December 3, 2009). "Getting History Wrong". The Huffington Post.
  12. ^ "Ellis Island". The National Park Service. June 28, 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  13. ^ "Later Years". Colonel John B. Weber Monument Association, Corp. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  14. ^ "VFW NY Post 898". VFW NY Post Directory. Retrieved 15 November 2009.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Francis B. Brewer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 33rd congressional district

Succeeded by
John M. Wiley

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website