Erastus Brooks

Erastus Brooks

Erastus Brooks is a well known literary and professionalism who once called Staten Island home, during his time. He was an American newspaper editor and a New York politician, well known in Richmond County for his religious, social, and political life from 1878-1883.

Brooks was born in Portland on January 31st, 1815. His father, Captain James Brooks, left for war; he commanded the privateer "Yankee" during the War of 1812, passing away when his vessel was lost at sea in 1814. He left behind his wife and three children, who dependent for support upon government pension.

At the age of 8, Brooks left home to live in Boston on his own. To earn a living, he worked in a grocery store, using the money for board and clothes, and attend school at night. He moved on from the grocery store and began working at a printing office, learning the trade of a compositor. With the money he earned at this job, he went to school at Brown University.

When he turned 18 years old, he started a newspaper called “Yankee” and later purchased the Haverhill "Gazette".

In 1835, he moved to Washington D.C. and became a correspondent for many newspapers there. In 1840, Brooks had the honor to be the associate editor of the “New York Express” with his brother James Brooks. Erastus Brooks was among the first to use the telegraph for newspaper reports. For many years, he served as one of the members of the executive committee of the associated press, considered as a general manager at the time.

His political life was forced upon him as he was elected to the state senate in the year of 1853, where he was the member of the New York Senate, sitting in the 77th, 78th, 79th, and 80th New York State Legislature. In 1856, he ran for Governor of New York but lost to Republican John A. King. He was even a member of the New York State Assembly: Richmond County, from 1878-1883, serving as a Democratic.

On November 25, 1886, Brooks passed away in West New Brighton, Staten Island, and was buried at the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp, Staten Island.

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