He was a graduate (1843) of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was a classmate and roommate of General U. S. Grant. His standing in class was high (second) and he afterwards taught geography, history and ethics at the Academy.
Deshon was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in July 1851, but resigned his commission in October. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1852, and soon after became a novice in the Redemptorist Order. He was ordained priest in 1855 and became associated with Fathers Isaac Hecker, Clarence Walworth, Augustine Hewit, and Francis A. Baker, all regularly employed in missionary work. With them he obtained in 1858 a dispensation from his vows as a Redemptorist, and assisted in the formation of a new Society of Apostolic Life called the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle; the first house and church of the society were built in New York in 1859.
He remained in this house during the rest of this life, being novice-master for several years, and afterwards assistant superior and in charge generally of the temporal interests of the community, which owed much to his business ability. He also superintended throughout the building of the church of St. Paul the Apostle, in which his skill and knowledge as an engineer, acquired at West Point, were of service.
Father Deshon spent a considerable part of his time on the missions. A volume of his parochial sermons was issued in 1901.
He published in 1860 a book entitled "Guide for Catholic Young Women – Especially Those Who Earn Their Own Living," which is still in print today.
Father Deshon was elected superior general of the Paulist Institute in 1897. At that time houses had been founded in San Francisco, and at Winchester, Tennessee. The last important act of his life was the founding of the Paulist house in Chicago, for which he arranged with Archbishop Quigley in the fall of 1903.
- Searle, The Very Rev. George Deshon, C.S.P., in The Catholic World (1904), LXXXVIII, 569-73.
See also contemporary files, The Catholic News (New York).