Erastus Wiman (21 April 1834 – 9 February 1904) was a Canadian journalist and businessman who later moved to the United States. He is best known as a developer in the New York City borough of Staten Island.
April 21, 1834|
Churchville, Peel Regional Municipality, Ontario
|Died||February 9, 1904
St. George, New York City, New York
|Cause of death||Complications of a stroke|
|Organization||Founder, Canadian Club of New York City|
|Criminal charge||Forgery, 1894|
|Criminal penalty||Five years and six months in state prison|
|Criminal status||Conviction overturned, 1896|
|Spouse(s)||Eleanor Anne Galbraith (1860-until death)|
|Parent(s)||Erastus Wiman (father)|
Wiman's first job was at the North American in Toronto (not to be confused with the Philadelphia-based paper) at age 16, as an apprentice printer for a salary of $1.50 a week. After four years, he worked as a reporter and later the business editor for the Toronto Globe. He moved into business for R.G. Dun and Co., becoming the manager of the company's Ontario branch at age 26. At age 33, he was transferred to New York and would become general manager of the company (at this point known as Dun, Barlow & Co.) The firm would later be called Dun, Wiman & Co. He became president of the Great Northwestern Telegraph Company of Canada in 1881.
In the late 1800s, Wiman emerged as a major developer in the New York City borough of Staten Island. As the president of the Staten Island Railway Co. and the St. George Ferry to Manhattan, Wiman pushed to make the borough the center of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's New York operations, and was also involved in one of the early proposals to connect Staten Island to the other four boroughs of the city via a rail tunnel. Wiman later constructed an amusement park near St. George Ferry Terminal, and purchased the Metropolitan Baseball Club which played in the neighborhood. He owned several properties on the island, including a country home on Hylan Boulevard in Eltingville previously owned by Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted.
In 1893, Wiman went into bankruptcy, proceeded by the turnover of several entities he owned into the hands of others. In 1894, Wiman was arrested for forgery after attempting to cash a $5,000 check from R.G. Dunn made out to a false name. He was found guilty in 1895 (though the conviction was overturned on appeal), and would relinquish his fortune after lawsuits by his creditors. Wiman suffered a stroke in 1901, and died at his home in St. George in 1904.
Wiman had three sons, Harry, William, and Louis, and two daughters.
- "Erastus Wiman, Citizen: He Completes His Naturalization After Waiting for Twenty Years". The New York Times. August 1, 1897. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Staten Island Advance (March 27, 2011). "For Erastus Wiman, St. George was a golden opportunity". SILive.com. Staten Island, New York: Staten Island Advance. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- "Death of Erastus Wiman: Staten Island Financier and Promoter Succumbs to Paralysis. His Career, His Many Traction, Realty, and Other Schemes, His Financial Downfall, and His Trial for Forgery". The New York Times. February 10, 1904. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Reid, James D. (1886). The telegraph in American and Morse memorial. J. Polhemus. p. 608. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "To Tunnel The Narrows And Thus Improve New York's Commercial Facilities: Mr. Erastus Wiman's Latest Plan Upon Which He and Others Have Long Been Mediating". The New York Times. August 5, 1890. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- "Erastus Wiman". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 10, 1904. p. 4. Retrieved 9 October 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- New York Times Obituary (subscription required)