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Dates of existence
Walter Maxfield Lea was born 10 February 1874 in Tryon, Prince Edward Island. On 2 October 1899 he married Helena Maud Rogerson and the couple had five children.
Lea received his education in the local schools. He became a farmer and was known as a breeder of horses and cattle. He began his political career in 1915 when he was elected to the House of Assembly as a Liberal. In 1919 he was re-elected and named Commissioner of Agriculture. He was defeated in the 1923 election but was returned to the House and his Agricultural post in 1927. As Commissioner, Lea introduced a number of programs that he had experimented with on his own farm, such as tuberculin testing of cattle and community breeding stock.
In 1930, Premier Albert Saunders was called to the Supreme Court and Lea was asked to form a government. He was the first farmer to become premier in the history of the Island. He came to the post of Premier when forces beyond his control were conspiring to defeat him; the Great Depression was on, the federal government was Conservative, and the provincial Conservatives argued that therefore, they would be more effective at persuading funds out of Ottawa, consequently Lea