Erastus Wiman

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Erastus Wiman
Erastus Wiman 0001.jpg
Born(1834-04-21)April 21, 1834
DiedFebruary 9, 1904(1904-02-09) (aged 69)
St. George, New York
CitizenshipCanadian, American][1]
OrganizationFounder, Canadian Club of New York City
Known forOwner of Metropolitan Baseball Club
Criminal chargeForgery, 1894
Criminal penaltyFive years and six months in state prison
Criminal statusConviction overturned, 1896
Spouse(s)Eleanor Anne Galbraith (m. 1860)

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.


Wiman was born in Churchville, Upper Canada (now part of Ontario) on April 21, 1834 to Erastus Wyman and Therese Amelia née Matthews. .[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 for his 1st cousin Hon. Sir William MacDougall( whose mother Hannah was Therese's sister)and was a founding father of Canadian Confederation.[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 he relocated to 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 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.[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 four sons, Henry, William who married Anna Deere-a great granddaughter of John Deere- the couple were the parents of Dwight Deere Wiman (Broadway producer) as well as Charles Deere Wiman; Frank and Louis, and two daughters. Grandchildren of William and Anna include Nancy "Trink" Deere Wiman, Anna Deere Wiman, Katherine Deere Wiman, Damaris Deere Wiman (last surviving grandchild), Mary Jane Wiman, and Patricia Deere Wiman, while some of the great grandchildren include Rufus Wakeman and family, Michael Colhoun and family, Susan Taft and family, Ian D Colhoun and family (daughter is Lindsay of Deere-Colhoun handbags), the Brintons and families, the Hewitts and families (includes Anna Hewitt Wolfe-owner of Mandala Healing in N.M), the Carters and families, the Glovers and families, etc.[3] Some of Erastus's relations on his maternal Matthews line include two well known families in the history of the fundamental Latter Day Saints religion which began abt 1838 under Joseph Smith-these were his two aunts:Maria Antoinette who married John Glines/Glynes and Aurelia who married Thomas William Hollingshead

Wiman was naturalized as a United States citizen in 1897 although he was born and raised at Churchville (Brampton), Ontario. He was the only son of Erastus Wyman/Wiman and Therese née Matthews.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Erastus Wiman, Citizen: He Completes His Naturalization After Waiting for Twenty Years" (PDF). The New York Times. August 1, 1897. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Staten Island Advance (March 27, 2011). "For Erastus Wiman, St. George was a golden opportunity". Staten Island, New York: Staten Island Advance. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "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" (PDF). The New York Times. February 10, 1904. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  4. ^ Reid, James D. (1886). The telegraph in American and Morse memorial. J. Polhemus. p. 608. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  5. ^ "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" (PDF). The New York Times. August 5, 1890. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Erastus Wiman". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 10, 1904. p. 4. Retrieved 9 October 2015 – via

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