Firmin Rene Desloge was born 1803 in Nantes, France & died 20 Jul 1856 Potosi, Missouri. He was married to Cynthian McIlvaine They were the parents of twelve children: Francis, Lucy, Charles, Josephine, Jane, Firmin, Jules, Louise, John, George, Sophia, Clara.
The Desloge Home at Potosi
For many years Firmin Desloge (1803 - 1856) & his wife, the former Cyntian McIlvaine, maintained a home in Potosi, Missouri. their daughter Zoe, tenth of their twelve children, was born in 1850. When she was sixteen, she married Seth Wallace Cobb. Many years later she wrote her reminiscences of her girlhood home, carefully making drawings to illustrate the arrangement of the rooms & the gardens & outbuildings. Mrs. Cobb died in St. Louis, July 24, 1935. Her daughter, Miss Josephine Cobb, gave the Society many family documents & papers, together with carefully typed copies. From these we reproduce here Mrs. Cobb'[s drawing of the first floor & garden of the Desloge home in Potosi, & her written description.
Zoe D. Cobb's Memories:
Our home in Potosi was a home with a good father & mother & lots of children of all ages from brother Frank to Clara. The house was a frame house about fifty feet front, painted white with green blinds, sloping shinble roof, & a large red brick chimney. A porch, running the full length of the house in front, was screened from the street by a heavy dark gray linen curtain & there was a space of about three feet between the porch & the high paling fence. In that space as a vine, Virgin Bower, whose foliage & long purple flowers partly hid the greay screen from passersby.
Beyond that & to the left as you entered the house was a gravel walk about fifteen feet wide, bordered on the right by a bed in which sweet flowers bloomed, especialy yellow roses in the spring. Two windows in the garden gate, in a low white picket fence.
Once in the garden you were surprised by the beauty of the flowers. My mother loved flowers & her garden was famous. My father bought many choice varieties for her in St. Louis & brought some from Philadelphia on his annual trips there. Bordering the garden on the right & left were shrubs, in full bloom in the spring, burning bush, snow-balls, etc. Beyond were arbor vitae, to make a background for the bouquets my mother delighted in arranging.
In the center of the south side was a large summer-house, covered with honey-suckle & virgin bower. Inside there were seats all around the five sides, the entrance being on the north side of the summer-house, & a high fence cut off the view of the lane that led to the stable & the carriage house & the creek beyond. In the large wood-yard stood a brick smoke-house which was kept well supplied with beef, venison, hams, buffalo tongues, fresh pork, etc. On the outside of the smoke-house, under the roof, was a large row of boxes for the pigeons' nests. The pigeons' occupancy was often disputed by the martins, whose chatter disturbed brother Frank's early morning repose, so he nailed a board along the front, which effectively closed the nests of the martins.
This wood-yard was about four feet lower than the flower garden; in it stood a pear tree, which Clara, Sophie, & I climbed one day to get some fruit. Our punishment for such daring was to don boys' trousers, a great humiliation.
From the long, wide porch a door opened into he parlor of the house, a large room overlooking the flower garden. A window opened onto the porch, two to the south overlooked the flower garden, a wide gravel walk with a gate between. There was a mantel on the west side on which stood the pair of large, lovely vases. They are now owned, one by Firmin Desloge & one by Felix Valle. There was a piano, a round center table, & a whatnot in the corner with curiosities - many shell, daguerreotypes, etc. There was a stove with an open fireplace, Pa's portrait hung on the north side, with engravings on either side of boys in school; in one picture all the boys were laughing, in the other they were all crying. In summer cool matting covered the floor; in winter a carpet took it's place.
Ma's bedroom was next. It had an open fire in winter, a screen filled the fire-place in summer. A very large walnut bed stood in the southwest corner, a bureau between the windows on the south side, a washstand on the west. A large sofa on the north opened to make a bed for me & Sophie; Clara slept with Ma. The Singer sewing machine was before the window in the northeast corner. It was the first one ever seen in Potosi & was a great curiosity to everyone. My mother used to say, "Well, they can make machines for everything but they will never make one to sew!"
The dining room was very large & very long, I should say thirty-five feet by twenty. It needed to be for a table to seat twelve & Pa always had the next to the youngest on his knee ss he sat at the end & did the carving. There was window & a door in the end toward the street, a window to the north, a door in the west wall & one to the south. The room was heated by a very large stove. A lovely old mahogany sideboard stood on the south side & a mahogany secretary with a bookcase on top was on the north side. There were a dozen red chairs, with stencils of gold stripes & cane seats. Stairs on the south side led tot he second floor. The sideboard had the silver & glassware on it & blue china filled the inside. Once Mass was said in the dining room when the new church was being built & the sideboard was used for the altar.
There were bedrooms upstairs & a store-room. Other members of the family slept up there.
To go back to the dining room - When we had company, I was called on to pull the fly-fan. It was usually done by one of the small Negroes, but, for what reason I do not know, it was my job for company. I enjoyed it for I liked to hear the conversation. I stood about ten feet behind Pa, near the door leading to the pack porch. My hair was tied up in pigtails & my ears were wide open.