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Weer Jr., William

Born: 1824-12-20 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died: 1867-02-28 Wyandotte, Kansas

Flourished: Macoupin County, Illinois

William Weer, Jr. was an attorney, prosecuting attorney, county judge, territorial attorney general, Union army officer, and state senator. He attended McKendree College, graduating in 1841. He read law, earned admission to the Illinois bar, and commenced practicing law in Carlinville, Illinois. In 1846, Weer served as the prosecuting attorney of Illinois. In February 1848, he married Gloriana Hamilton, daughter of the Reverend John T. and Elizabeth H. Hamilton and granddaughter of the Reverend Gideon Blackburn. In 1850, Weer was practicing law in Carlinville and owned real property valued at $1,000. From 1851 to 1853, Weer served as probate judge for Macoupin County. In 1856, Weer and his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Weer practiced law for a short time before moving his family to Wyandotte County, Kansas Territory. In 1857, Weer received appointment as attorney general of the Kansas Territory, holding that position until 1858. Upon commencement of the Civil War, Weer enlisted in the Union Army as colonel of the Fourth Kansas Infantry. In March 1862, Weer raised two regiments of Indian home guards to fight for the Union. In June 1862, he assumed command of the Tenth Kansas Infantry upon the consolidation of the Third and Fourth Kansas Infantry regiments. In June 1862, Weer commanded the expedition to drive Confederate forces out of the Indian Territory, but in July, he was arrested and relieved of command for intemperate conduct. From August 1862 to January 1864, Weer held various commands in the departments of Missouri and Kansas, seeing action at Newtonia, Cane Hill, and other engagements. From January to April 1864, Weer commanded the military prison in Alton, Illinois. In August 1864, the War Department dishonorably discharged Weer for drunkenness on duty and for conduct unbecoming an officer. Weer appealed the dismissal to President Abraham Lincoln, who reversed the decision of the court-martial, allowing Weer to re-enter military service. He became a colonel in the Twenty-Third Regiment of the Kansas State Militia. In 1864, Weer won election to the Kansas Senate, serving in that body until 1866.

Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Macoupin County, 3 February 1848, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; History of Macoupin County, Illinois (Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough, 1879), 50, 52, 54; Charles A. Walker, ed., History of Macoupin County Illinois: Biographical and Pictorial (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1911), 1:130, 154, 256, 283; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Carlinville, Macoupin County, IL, 179; Nicholas J. Santoro, Atlas of the Indian Tribes of North America and the Clash of Cultures (New York: IUniverse, 2009), 436; Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas. Historical and Biographical (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1890), 246; Roy Bird, Civil War in Kansas (Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2004), 59; Roger D. Hunt, Colonels in Blue--Missouri and the Western States and Territories: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2019), 194-95.