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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Wesley McLeod

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[This information is from Vol. III, p. 183 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Wesley McLeod, the well known member of the firm of McLeod & Durkee of Utica, New York, was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, in 1860, the eighth of ten children born to John and Margaret (Frazer) McLeod, who were natives of the County of Inverness, Scotland, and came to Canada in 1825 and engaged in farming and timber business. The father died in Ontario in 1889, and the mother in 1897.

Wesley McLeod was educated in the public schools of Belleville and Commercial College, and at the age of sixteen began learning the cheese business. Four years later he became superintendent of the Allen Grove Combination, consisting of seventy dairies and cheese factories located at Lancaster, Ontario, where he remained until 1890, then engaged in the grocery business until 1893, after which he returned to Belleville, Ontario, as representative of Boyd & Grant of Liverpool, England, in buying cheese. In 1894 Mr. McLeod came to Utica and bought cheese for W. D. Grant, a cheese importer, and continued with him for a year, and during that time founded the company known as the Meadow Swede Cheese Company, which was the first company to put up cheese in packages. This company was discontinued in 1900. From 1896 to 1917 he was also associated with the Boonville Creamery & Storage Company, operating eight creameries. In 1898 he founded the Oneida County Creamery Company, which has one hundred stores over the state, and remained with this company until 1918. He also founded the company composed of himself and J. E. Ormsby in 1905, doing a wholesale cheese business, and remained there until 1915. From 1915 to 1920 he maintained a brokerage office in the Union Station at Utica, and also organized the firm of McLeod & Durkee, wholesale dealers in butter, cheese, eggs and grocery supplies.

In Dundee, Quebec, in 1890, Mr. McLeod was united in marriage to Miss Mary Smith, daughter of M. M. Smith, a customs officer for many years. Mrs. McLeod is a member of Trinity Episcopal church of her home city and is interested in church affairs. She is also a member of the board of St. Luke's Hospital.

Aside from his many activities Mr. McLeod is a member of various social organizations which include the City, Utica Golf and Country, the Rotary, Republican, and the Fish and Game Clubs, all of Utica. Golf, fishing, hunting and touring are his chief diversions. His church associations are in the Presbyterian church, and in politics he is a stanch republican. Mr. McLeod has been active in the cheese industry throughout the state of New York, and had more to do with making Utica a cheese market than any other one citizen.

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