Monday, September 2, 2013

Galius Lawton Zwick (1876-1961)

From the 1923-24 Official Manual of Missouri.

   A  practicing attorney for over sixty years, Buchanan County, Missouri resident Galius Lawton Zwick was for many decades one of that county's foremost citizens, being involved in many aspects of public life in the city of St. Joseph. I first located Mr. Zwick's name courtesy of the Who Was Who In America 1961-1968 edition several years ago, and in all that time further information on him has proven to be scant. However, in February of last year I stumbled across a 1923-24 edition of the Official Manual of Missouri, and buried in that work was a complete listing of delegates to the State Constitutional Convention which had been held the previous year. Mr. Zwick happened to have served as one of those delegates, and after some searching I was rewarded with the above portrait of Mr. Zwick, the first of which I've seen!
   Blessed with a truly curious name, Zwick also lucked into the good fortune of being a centennial baby, being born July 4th, 1876 in Macon City, Missouri. A son of George Wellington and Mary Elizabeth Cantwell Zwick, Galius attended the University of Missouri and graduated with his bachelor of laws degree in the class of 1897. He was admitted to the bar in 1899 and shortly thereafter established his law practice in the city of St. Joseph. In November 1902 Zwick made his first foray into local politics, being the unsuccessful Republican candidate for City Attorney of St. Joseph. Several years later he became a member of the St. Joseph Police Board and would serve as its president from 1908-1910. Zwick married on April 25, 1914 to Helen Elizabeth Cook and had two daughters, Helen Virginia Fleeman (1916-2003) and Mary Gale Zwick Holland (1919-1998).

Galius Zwick, from the 1899 Savitar Yearbook.

   Zwick continued to serve on the St, Joseph Police Board until 1917 and was also a curator of the University of Missouri from 1911 through 1917. During the First World War Zwick held the position of chairman of the local draft board for St. Joseph and in 1922 was elected as a delegate to the Missouri State Constitutional Convention of 1922-23, representing Missouri's second district. Throughout the convention proceedings Zwick held a seat on the committees on Judiciary and Education
   Following the conclusion of his service as a delegate Zwick returned to the practice of law. In 1924 he was appointed by Governor Arthur Mastick Hyde to a vacancy on the Sixth District Circuit Court of Missouri. This vacancy had been caused by the resignation of Judge Thomas Buford Allen and Zwick served out the remainder of Allen's term. Zwick ran for a term of his own on the court in November 1924 but was ultimately defeated, losing to Democrat Samuel Wilcox by a vote of 15,612 to 18, 915. A result from that year's contest appeared in the 1925-26 Official Manual of Missouri and is shown below.


   In spite of his losing candidacy Galius Lawton Zwick continued to serve the Buchanan County area for many decades afterward, including a stint as President of the St. Joseph Safety Board from 1935-38. He was also a longstanding member of the St. Joseph Library Board and in 1940 was part of the Missouri delegation to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia that nominated Wendell Wilkie for the Presidency. Late in his life Zwick served as President of the Missouri State Historical Society, serving a one year term in 1947. He died in St. Joseph on September 22, 1961 at age 85 and was survived by his wife and two daughters. Zwick's death certificate  (filed in October 1961) notes that he succumbed to a "cerebral vascular accident" and was interred at the Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Joseph.

From the September 22, 1961 edition of the Joplin News Herald.

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