Branching Out

In 1916 Swift transferred Lee to Winnipeg. It was there that his talents caught the eye of Henry Weiller. The Edmonton Public Stockyards opened that same year. Weiller and his partner Leo McCarthy were looking to open up a livestock commission business and needed a capable and energetic manager. By 1917 Lee was back in Edmonton working for Wood, Weiller and McCarthy.

Wood, Weiller and McCarthy had chosen a good time to expand their Canadian operations. The US population was booming and tariffs were finally removed in 1913. Exports increased from 9,807 in 1912 to 180,383 in 1913. In 1919, 453,606 head of cattle were shipped to the United States, an all time high. Large shipments were also made to eastern markets in Toronto and Montreal.

The First World War had a modest impact on the industry. A national tightening of purse strings slowed down general development and the building of railways, however armies and growing populations still needed to be supplied. Grain prices were up so grain feed was not always an option, but apart from some drought in the southeast, Alberta’s cattle industry generally did well.

Image Credits: Weiller and Williams Co. Ltd. Business Card, No date, Musée Héritage Museum