The Desloge Family
The history of the Desloge family in Missouri is fascinating. Firmin René Desloge came to the United States from France in 1823. With the help of his uncle, Ferdinand Rozier, young Desloge established a mercantile business in Potosi, Missouri. Over time, Desloge was able to acquire various claims from lead miners in the area. His son, Firmin Vincent Desloge, entered Saint Louis University in 1858 and began working for his father in 1867. In 1873 Firmin Vincent Desloge created the Desloge Lead Company, later called the Desloge Consolidated Lead Company.
Joseph Desloge, Sr.
Mr. Desloge served as an officer in the French Army during World War I, and was decorated by the French government for bravery near the town of Vouziers.
Among many interesting Desloge family stories, the following one about Firmin Vincent Desloge's son, Joseph Desloge, Sr., relates to Firmin Desloge Hospital. Joseph Desloge maintained a lifelong commitment to the Hospital, the School of Medicine, and Saint Louis University. He was extremely proud to receive the University's highest honor in 1949, the Fleur de Lis award. This story is taken from the book, Passport to Manhood, written by his son, Joseph Desloge, Jr.
"In Depression times, health care was not readily available. I remember the time that Papa found a message inside an empty patent medicine bottle on a sandbar on Pelican Island in the Missouri River. He pulled out the message and read it. A poor man whose wife was dying from 'feemail problems' [sic] had written a plea for help, but he had failed to indicate an address. Papa sent someone upstream to several river shanty towns to try to find these people. Sadly, he never located the letter-writer. Papa explained to us little ones that there were millions of people in the same predicament and that Desloge Hospital had been built to help them. While cleaning out Papa's desk after his death nearly forty years later, we found the letter in a bottom drawer. ... My hardest life experience was Papa's sudden death. We parted on bad terms and I never got a chance to say goodbye! Papa had a life-long interest in Desloge Hospital. Perhaps this 'message in a bottle' was really meant for him."