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LABUZAN, AUGUSTINE

LABUZAN, AUGUSTINE (1819–1894). Augustine Labuzan, businessman, Mexican War veteran, Confederate military officer, and sheriff, was born on November 15, 1819, in Georgia. Little is known about his childhood, but by 1840 Labuzan had moved to Galveston, Texas, where he became a founding member of the Galveston Artillery Company that was formed in September of that same year. In Galveston, Labuzan enlisted for service in the Mexican War.

By 1850 Labuzan had joined the gold rush and moved to Sacramento, California, where he became a gold miner. It is not known how long he remained in California or if he profited from this venture, but by June 5, 1860, he had returned to Texas to the Strand district in Galveston. There he opened a cotton factor business in which he operated as a commission merchant and cotton-weigher. Advertisements for his business frequently appeared in local papers.

When Texas seceded from the Union in 1861, Labuzan quickly contributed to the Southern war effort. In Galveston in June 1861, he and Joseph J. Cook began organizing the Texas Third Artillery Battalion, of which he was appointed captain of B Company in September of 1861. Gen. Paul O. H├ębert promoted Labuzan to major of the battalion on December 7, 1861, the same day he signed his oath to the Confederacy. His regiment, also known as Cook's Battalion Artillery, primarily served as coastal defense for Galveston and remained stationed at Fort Point in Galveston throughout much of the war. While in Confederate service, Labuzan wed sixteen-year-old Mary Virginia Watts on January 30, 1862. On April 18, 1862, Cook's Battalion Artillery was mustered into service in the Confederate army and was attached to the First Heavy Artillery Regiment. In 1863 Labuzan was placed on a special assignment to procure supplies for his regiment. This duty seems to have required multiple trips between Galveston and Richmond, trips that Labuzan personally paid for in the belief that he would later be compensated. Labuzan was with his unit in September 1863, which meant that he likely took part in the battle of Sabine Pass, but his actions in the fight are not known. Later in 1863, Labuzan was court-martialed for an unidentified reason. After this, he seems to have left the military for the remainder of the war. Although his time in the Confederate army was cut short and his court-martial possibly indicates poor performance as a soldier, a Galveston newspaper later lauded Labuzan for his service in the artillery.

By September 23, 1865, Labuzan had returned to Galveston. There he continued his cotton factor business and became a bookkeeper and the treasurer of the Galveston Commercial Club. His wife Virginia gave birth to a son during the war, and she and Augustine had another boy shortly after the war. On April 20, 1868, Virginia gave birth to a daughter, Ann Mary. In 1869 Labuzan was involved in an altercation at the mayor's residence in which he shot and killed a black man. He went on trial for the offense but was found not guilty because the shooting was deemed "justifiable." His penchant for dispensing justice continued as later on he became a deputy sheriff for Galveston County. He also continued to weigh cotton, and from 1893 to around 1896 he served as the public weigher for the Tenth Judicial District of Galveston County. In 1894 he began collecting a special pension for his service in the Mexican War. After this, he and a partner opened a business for the weighing, shipping, and compressing of cotton. Labuzan died in Galveston on November 17, 1894.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Alwyn Barr, "Texas Coastal Defense, 1861–1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 65 (July 1961). Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Record Service, Washington.

Bradley Folsom

Citation

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

Bradley Folsom, "LABUZAN, AUGUSTINE ," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fla96), accessed April 19, 2014. Uploaded on April 6, 2011. Modified on July 21, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.