Four-time mayor of Allegheny City
James Wyman was born in 1851 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and moved to Allegheny City at the age of 25. During his time in the city’s First Ward neighborhood, Wyman made a name for himself in the excavating and contracting business. His political career began when he was elected to the Common and Select Councils, followed by a term as Chairman of the Police Committee and was a delegate to the 1900 Republican National Convention.
Wyman served four terms as mayor of Allegheny City: three on a Republican ballot and one on a Democratic ballot. He pioneered the introduction of police patrol wagons to Allegheny City’s law enforcement department, and officially renamed the department the “Bureau of Police”. He supported the merging of Allegheny City and Pittsburgh and sought to secure a charter for a tunnel under the Allegheny River that would have connected the two cities and opened up new channels of commerce. In his personal life, he developed a passion for horse racing that turned into a booming business. Wyman faced extortion and embezzlement charges during his second term and became the only Allegheny mayor impeached and put in jail while in office. Despite that setback, Wyman was elected again to serve as mayor in 1899-1901 and 1903-1906, prior to the Allegheny City-Pittsburgh annexation in 1907.
Wyman died of pneumonia in 1910 and was survived by seven children: six with his first wife, Martha Fletcher, and one with his second wife, Dorothy Watson.
Story of Old Allegheny City / compiled by workers of the Writers’ Program of the Works Projects Administration in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Allegheny Centennial Committee, 1941.
“The Mayors of Allegheny City.” Allegheny City Society, www.alleghenycity.org/the-mayors-of-allegheny-city/