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 John E. Weyss  (1820 - 1903)

About: John E. Weyss


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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia / Austria      Known for: topographic landscape, survey artist

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A survey artist, topographer and engineer, John Weyss did extensive travel in the West in the later part of the 19th century.

His birthplace is Austria, and working from Washington D.C., he was illustrator for several Western surveys including the government's Mexican Boundary Survey, which began working in 1849 along the Texas border and finished in 1855. In this capacity Weyss was a member of the United States Commission to mark the boundaries between the two countries as had been established by the 1848 treaty that ended the Mexican-American War---Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Traveling directly with William Emory, the leader, during the entire survey, Weyss contributed many illustrations to Emory's report published 1857 to 1859. Weyss' best known work from that trip was a view of Brownsville, Texas, which James Smillie later engraved.

During the Civil War, Weyss was a Union Army major on the engineering staff of the Army of the Potomac, and then spent the remainder of his career with the War Department as a survey artist.

In 1869, he did Grand Canyon views for the United States Survey, and in 1889, was topographer for the Wheeler Survey of the Colorado Plateau and Grand Canyon.

John Weyss died June 24, 1903 in Washington DC at the age of 83. His work is in the collection of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library in San Antonio.

According to the Topographical Records of the U.S. Engineer Office of Geographical Surveys, the "Memorium" on file for John. E. Weyss reads: "Born in Austria, 1820. Came to the United States, 1848. Assistant in Smithsonian Institution, Topographer, Mexican Boundary; Kansas Boundary; New Mexico Boundary; at Gen'l Rosecrans H'dqrs, 1862-63; at Gen'l Meade's H'dqrs, 1864-65; Office Explorations West the 100th Meridian, 1872-1883; Office of the Chief of Engineers, etc."

"Died Wednes, June 24, 1903 at No. 1316 Potomac Ave.N.W. Washington. D.C. 83 years of age".

"A man of sterling qualities and unexcelled ability as a topographer".

Sources include:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West"
John and Deborah Powers, "Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists"
Robert Taft, "Artists and Illustrators of the Old West"
'Memoriam John E. Weiss', Copy of record, Courtesy Anna A Punchank, Administrative Officer, Office of History, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Topographical Records, Book No. 347, 1877

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