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WOZENCRAFT, FRANK WILSON

WOZENCRAFT, FRANK WILSON (1892–1966). Frank Wilson Wozencraft, lawyer and mayor of Dallas, was born in Dallas on June 7, 1892, to Virginia Lee (Wilson) and Alfred Prior Wozencraft. He attended St. Matthew's School for Boys in Dallas, graduated from Dallas High School (1909), and received his B.A. (1913) and LL.B. (1914) degrees from the University of Texas. He practiced in his father's law office in 1914 and worked as an attorney for Southwestern Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1916–17. He entered the service on August 5, 1917, was commissioned a captain, and organized the Dallas Greys. When the volunteer company was federalized he was transferred to Company B, 144th Infantry, Thirty-sixth Infantry Division, and went overseas in March 1918. Discharged in January 1919, he remained a major of the Infantry Reserve Corps and returned to Dallas, where he was nominated for mayor by the Democratic party, endorsed by the Citizens Association, and elected for the 1919–21 term. At that time, at twenty-six years of age, he was said to be the youngest mayor of any major American city. His term of office occurred in a period of rapid postwar growth, in which housing shortages and overloaded public utilities posed difficult problems. Wozencraft's record on these issues moved civic leaders to offer him renomination in 1921, which he declined. His performance in the job induced sixty-four Texas mayors to propose that "Dallas' boy mayor" be nominated to be the next Texas governor. Wozencraft declined, noting that he was legally underage for that office, and returned to private practice with Leake, Henry, Wozencraft, and Frank in 1921.

Wozencraft married Mary Victoria McReynolds, daughter of John O. McReynolds, in 1922. In 1931 he began work for the Radio Corporation of America in New York City and Washington, D.C., and eventually became vice president and general counsel. In 1942 he resigned to return to military service. He served from 1942 to 1945, rose from lieutenant colonel to full colonel, and served as executive secretary of the American-British Combined Communications Board of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He was awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States government and the Order of the British Empire. He resumed his law practice in Washington, D.C., in 1946, and returned to Dallas to retire in 1962. An active Democrat, Wozencraft was a presidential elector of the Fifth Congressional District in 1917 and a delegate at large at the 1924 national convention. In 1913 he was a member of the United States commission that studied agricultural cooperation in Europe. He was a member of national, state, and local bar associations and, during his mayoral term, was named president of the Texas League of Municipalities. He was a member of the national executive board of the Boy Scouts and the National Press Club and vice president of the Philosophical Society of Texas. He was an Episcopalian, a thirty-second-degree Mason, a Knight Templar, and a Shriner. Wozencraft was the father of two sons. He died in a Dallas hospital on September 3, 1966.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Mayors Oral History Project (East Texas State University and Dallas Public Library, 1983). Dallas Morning News, December 26, 1966. History of Texas World War Heroes (Dallas: Army and Navy History Company, 1919). Who Was Who in America, 1960–61.

Joan Jenkins Perez

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Joan Jenkins Perez, "WOZENCRAFT, FRANK WILSON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwo33), accessed July 30, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 26, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.