From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 503, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Rev. William Weigand in charge of St. Alexis' Catholic Church,
Beardstown, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, April 12, 1852. He was reared
in Brown county, Illinois, where his parents moved when he was a child.
His parents were John and Elizabeth (Leisen) Weigand, natives of
Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. The father was a soldier in the regular
German army and he came to the United States after his discharge and
married his wife in Baltimore, where she had lived after coming to
America with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Weigand settled in Philadelphia
and afterward moved to Zanesville, Ohio, and from there to Brown
county, Illinois, in 1864, and settled on a farm. Farming was the
vocation of Mr. Weigand. He died soon after coming to Illinois when he
was fifty-four years of age. His wife is still living, aged seventy-six
years, and is the housekeeper for her son, the subject of this notice.
She has eight children, forty-eight grandchildren and twenty-two
great-grandchildren. The entire family are good Catholics and are
successful in whatever profession they have adopted, making hosts of
Mr. Weigand was thirteen years old when he was sent to St.
Francis College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Later he was sent to St. Joseph
College and finished his course at a college in Ohio. The church at
Beardstown is the first charge he has had since he graduated in the
spring of 1878. He was ordained by the Right Rev. Father P. J. Balters,
now deceased, then of Alton, Illinois. The church has grown under
Father Weigand in a wonderful degree. When he came there fourteen years
ago he found the church bending under the weight of a heavy debt. He
has not only cleared off the debt, but has recently finished a new
church edifice that is one of the finest buildings in the county. The
corner stone was laid July 7, 1889. It is of brick and all the
appointments, both inside and out, are of the most beautiful design.
The altar furnishings are in keeping with the general tone of the whole
building, and the whole taken together far surpasses any of the
buildings used for religious purposes in Beardstown.
The history of the church dates back to the ‘40s, when a priest
from Quincy, Illinois, came to start the church in Beardstown. He built
and added to the edifice. There are now about 100 heads of families in
the church and it is in a growing condition, although the railroad
strike of 1887 caused a decrease of twenty-five families. Father
Weigand is a worker and is a man greatly beloved by all his people,
having studied their wants. He has charge of the parish at Arenzville.
He had a parish school at Beardstown for a time, under his supervision.
Father Weigand is a man of true Catholic spirit.