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Wesson, John Henry (1887–1965)

John Henry Wesson.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A15276-2

John Henry Wesson was born near Sheffield, England in August 1887. In 1907 the family immigrated to Canada, settling on a homestead near Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Upon arrival, “Jack” Wesson joined the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association, serving as a board member from 1917 to 1924. He was a persuasive exponent of the principle of co-operation, and was active in the organization of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator Company. In 1924, Wesson was elected to the board of directors of Saskatchewan Co-operative Wheat Producers Limited, later to be known as the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. He became Pool president in 1937 and continued in that role until his retirement in 1960. He was active in bringing most of the major farm organizations of Canada together in the Canadian Federation of Agriculture in 1937, and became first president of that organization. Following World War II, Wesson worked with leaders of farm movements in other countries to bring about the establishment of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers. In recognition of his contribution in helping to mobilize the full resources of agriculture in the support of Canada’s war effort, Wesson was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1946. The University of Saskatchewan in 1961 conferred upon Jack Wesson the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. The citation presenting him to convocation contained these words: “His voice became the voice of Prairie wheat farmers and upon occasions, the voice of the whole of Canadian agriculture. With purpose and dignity he spoke, and was listened to, in provincial, national and international councils. Wherever the welfare of the Canadian farmer was discussed, John Wesson was to be found, and the weight of his judgment and influence was to be felt.” He was posthumously inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1973.

Wayne Davies

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