Born 18 June 1803, New York. 1811, family moved to New Rochelle; back to New York by 1817. First art training from Robert Cox (or Cook), an English heraldic painter; and, apparently, from John Wesley Jarvis. Attended American Academy, New York, and studied anatomy at New York University's medical school. 1821, began painting professionally. 1824, to Florence, Italy. About 1826, went to Rome; shared rooms with Horatio Greenough. 1828, returned to U.S. and opened New York studio. 1829, elected associate, National Academy of Design, New York; 1831, academician. 1834, named instructor of drawing at West Point. 1836, began Embarkation of the Pilgrims for the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, where it was installed 1843. 1846, made professor, West Point. About the same time, designed and built Church of the Holy Innocents, Highland Falls, N.Y. 1876, retired from West Point and settled at Castle Point, Hoboken, N.J. Maintained studio in New York City. Sons Julian Alden and John Ferguson Weir became noted artists. Died 1 May 1889, Hoboken.
William Kloss Treasures from the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985)