Pettis County Museum Antoine Saugrain Physician Ledgers
Antoine Francois Saugrain (de Vigni) was a physician and scientist on the American frontier. Born in Versailles, France, in 1763, he was educated in Paris. He made several trips to America, including taking part in an expedition to Ohio where he was wounded and captured by Native Americans. Due to his Royalist leanings, he was forced to flee France during the French Revolution and settle permanently in the United States. He helped to found Gallipolis, a French émigré community in Ohio, where he married Genevieve Rosalie Michau in 1793. By 1800, Saugrain and his family were living in St. Louis, on a property the size of an entire city block, where his impressive garden of medicinal plants and herbs is said to have influenced the botanical gardens of Henry Shaw.
Saugrain was the only physician in the city for several years. In 1804 he helped outfit the Lewis and Clark Expedition with medical supplies, as well as items like thermometers and matches he made himself. In 1805, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Saugrain Surgeon of the Army at Fort Bellefontaine in St. Louis. Saugrain was the first doctor west of the Mississippi to use Jenner’s cowpox vaccine during a smallpox outbreak in the region. He died in St. Louis in 1820.
This collection contains two ledgers used by Antoine Saugrain during his time as a physician in St. Louis. The first ledger is dated 1804 and spans the years 1800 to 1816. The second ledger is dated 1813 and includes the years 1805 to 1816. Each ledger contains entries for patients and notes about their treatment. There are entries for Antoine Soulard, Manuel Lisa, Pierre and Auguste Chouteau, General William Clark, and Governor Meriwether Lewis, along with many other citizens of St. Louis during the Territorial Period. Many individuals appear in both ledgers.
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How to Use This Collection:
The details of these ledger entries will be transcribed and translated in an upcoming project. At this time you may browse the entire collection or search by name of entrant. Please be aware that there is a lack of consistency in the recording of names. It will be helpful to also search for variant spellings (for example: Primm and Primme are both recorded for the same individual).