When Louis Weyland arrived in New York in October of 1846, he was
22 years old and single. Two of his brothers also came to America,
but we don't know if they came over at the same time. Not much is
known about what Louis did during the six years that elapsed
between his arrival in America and his settling in Boonville, in the
spring of 1852. We know that he resided for a time in New York City,
then in Albany, then Syracuse. Eventually, he headed west to St.
Louis and then, finally, settled in Boonville, MO.
He had been christened Ludwig Weyland, but he changed his name
to Louis some time after his arrival in America. In the 19th Century,
immigrants often anglicized their names, in order to be more
"American". The old country was behind them and there was no
going back. Often packed into tenements, they all celebrated the
music, the food and the culture of their homelands, but collectively,
they were all Americans now, citizens of a new land and eager to
show it. All but one of Louis's ten children were given Anglo-Saxon
names, what they would have seen as "American" names.
The only exception was Herman and even he, as a toddler, was called
"Harry" at home. Herman's nickname didn't stick, but nicknames
were popular in the Weyland household. Wife Catherine was called
"Kate" and daughter Catherine (who, sadly, lived only a few months)
was called "Katie". Another daughter, Mary, was known as "Mollie",
a name she was to use throughout her entire life, even in legal
documents. First-born daughter Louisa was always known as "Lizzie".
Louis began in Boonville as an upholsterer and eventually started his
own carriage works. In 1871, he opened a new factory, on the
northeast corner of High and Main Streets. As his business began to
prosper, two of his sons, Louis Frederick and Charles, joined him in
the firm and they continued to run it successfully, after Louis's death
in 1905. Louis was very active in the community and in local politics,
serving on the City Council and as a member of several civic groups,
including the Chamber of Commerce.
On the following pages, you will find additional photos and a number
of documents related to the life of Louis Weyland. These include his
application for U.S. citizenship and his last will and testament. To
view them, please click here: