LOOSCAN, MICHAEL (1838–1897). Michael Looscan, teacher, lawyer, and Confederate officer, was born in Caher, County Mayo, Ireland, on September 25, 1838. He was the son of Michael and Mary (Walsh) O'Looscan. Looscan was raised in Ireland and moved to the United States in 1855. He worked briefly in Utica, New York, and Mobile, Alabama, before moving to Texas, settling in Earpville, and working as a schoolteacher. He also studied law and passed his bar examination in the spring of 1861.
With the beginning of the Civil War, Looscan enlisted as a private in the Second Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles (see SECOND TEXAS CAVALRY), and served in New Mexico and Arizona. He was also adjutant and secretary to military governor of New Mexico and Arizona, Col. John R. Baylor. Around this time, Looscan joined the Arizona Brigade, a group created to liberate Arizona from Federal control. In November 1862 the Arizona Brigade was stationed in Columbus, Texas. In January 1863 this unit was strengthened and renamed the First Texas Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade. Throughout the spring, Looscan served with this unit as it followed orders to disarm and imprison disloyal German communities in Texas. During the fall and winter of 1863 and 1864, Looscan was stationed along the Texas-Arkansas border. On April 18, 1864, he led the First Cavalry at the battle of Poison Springs, Arkansas, and was recognized for gallantry. On July 27, Looscan led a detachment of the regiment at the battle of Massard's Prarie. Toward the end of the war, he was transferred into the Thirty-first Texas Cavalry Regiment.
Following the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Looscan returned to Texas and briefly resumed working as a teacher. After stints at Colorado, Lampasas, and Hamilton counties, Looscan moved to Houston in 1866. In 1868 he established his own law practice. He served as county attorney for Harris County between 1870 and 1880. During this time, he was active in several organizations, including the Irish Benevolent Association, the Emmet Council of Houston, the D.C.F.B. of Houston, the Magnolia Council of the Order of Chosen Friends, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, as well as several Civil War veterans' organizations. On September 13, 1881, Looscan married Adelle Lubbock Briscoe, daughter of the influential Andrew Briscoe and Mary Jane Harris Briscoe family. This couple had no children. In the 1880s Looscan dealt extensively in real estate law. His association with a series of appropriations and financial scandals, however, led to his retirement from the law practice in 1892. For the remainder of his life he was active in politics and supported the candidacy of James Hogg for governor and served in his administration. Looscan died on September 7, 1897, in Houston and was buried at Glenwood Cemetery there.
James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002). San Jacinto Museum of History, Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, Manuscript Collections, Finding Aid: Adele Briscoe Looscan Papers (http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org/Herzstein_Library/Manuscripts/Finding_Aids/AB_Looscan/), accessed April 13, 2011.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "Looscan, Michael," accessed February 25, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flo84.
Uploaded on April 23, 2011. Modified on June 3, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.