On September 21, 1842, John Baptiste Weber was born in a cottage on Oak Street, north of Goodell, in the City of Buffalo, to Philippe Jacob and Mary Anne Young Weber. His parents were both formerly of Leutenheim, Alsace (a small region between France and Germany that until 1871 was under French rule) where they were considered to be members of a prominent peasant family. The Colonelís father served in the French army for seven years serving under two kings, Charles X and Louis Phillip, while his great grandfather once served as the Burgomaster. The couple then emigrated to Buffalo, New York in 1833.
There John was born to a family of four children, being the youngest of two brothers. He began his education at the age of 4 at Public School 15. He continued through to central high school when he began pursuing other occupations such as errand boy. At 14, he joined Company 'F', 65th Regiment of Militia as their color bearer. At the age of 18 when Fort Sumter was fired upon and Civil War broke out, he was working as a clerk and bookkeeper for a grain and flour commission house on the Central Wharf.