Erastus Wiman

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Erastus Wiman
Erastus Wiman 0001.jpg
Born (1834-04-21)April 21, 1834
Churchville, Peel Regional Municipality, Ontario
Died February 9, 1904(1904-02-09) (aged 69)
St. George, New York City, New York
Cause of death Complications of a stroke
Nationality Canadian
Citizenship Canadian, American[1]
Organization Founder, Canadian Club of New York City
Known for
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)

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 on the New York City borough of Staten Island.


Wiman was born in Churchville, Upper Canada (now part of Ontario) on April 21, 1834.[2]

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.[2][3] After four years, he worked as a reporter and later the business editor for the Toronto Globe.[2][3] He moved into business for R.G. Dun and Co., becoming the manager of the company's Ontario branch at age 26.[2] 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.)[2][3] The firm would later be called Dun, Wiman & Co.[3] He became president of the Great Northwestern Telegraph Company of Canada in 1881.[4]

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.[2][3][5] Wiman later constructed an amusement park near St. George Ferry Terminal, and purchased the Metropolitan Baseball Club which played in the neighborhood.[2] 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.[2]

In 1893, Wiman wen 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.[2][3][6] Wiman suffered a stroke in 1901, and died at his home in St. George in 1904.[2][3]


Wiman was a proponent of reciprocity, now known as free trade, between Canada and the United States.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Wiman had three sons, Harry, William, and Louis, and two daughters.[3]

Wiman was naturalized as a United States citizen in 1897.[1]


External links[edit]