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William Shippen

1736-1808

Revolutionary War Surgeon and Doctor




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Edward Shippen

 

SHIPPEN, Edward, mayor of Philadelphia, born in Hillham, Cheshire, England, in 1639; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 October, 1712. He was the son of William Shippen. His brother, Reverend William Shippen, D. D., was rector of Stockport, Cheshire, and his nephew, Robert Shippen, D. D., was principal of Brasenose college, and vice-chancellor of Oxford university. Edward was bred to mercantile pursuits, and emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1668, where he became a wealthy merchant. In 1671 he became a member of the Ancient and honorable artillery company of Boston. He married Elizabeth Lybrand, a Quakeress, united with that sect, and shared the "jailings, whippings, and banishments, the fines and imprisonments," that were inflicted on the Quakers. In 1693 Mr. Shippen was either banished or driven to take refuge in Philadelphia. He did not quit Boston without erecting a memorial on "a green," near to "a pair of gallows, where several of our friends had suffered death fox' the truth, and were thrown into a hole." He asked leave of the magistrates to erect some more lasting monument there, but they were not willing. About the time he was leaving he gave a piece of land for a Friends' meeting-house, located in Brattles pasture, on Brattle street, near the site of the Quincey house, and on which was constructed the first brick church in Boston. In Philadelphia his wealth and character obtained for him position and influence. In 1695 he was elected to the assembly, and chosen speaker. In 1696 he was elected to the provincial council, of which he continued a member till his death, and for ten years he was the senior member. 

He was commissioned a justice of the peace in the same year, and in 1697 a judge of the supreme court, and the presiding judge of the courts of common pleas and quarter sessions and the orphan's court. In 1701 he became mayor of Philadelphia, being so named in William Penn's city charter of that year, and during this year he was appointed by Penn to be one of his commissioners of property, which office Shippen held till his death. 

As president of the council, he was the head of the government from May until December, 1703. In 1704, and for several years thereafter, he was chosen one of the aldermen, and from 1 June. 1705, till 1712 he was the treasurer of the city. He contracted his third marriage in 1706, which led to his withdrawal from the Society of Friends. His house long bore the name of "the Governor's House."  It was built in the early rise of the city, received then the name of ' Shippen's Great House, ' while Shippen himself was proverbially distinguished for three great things--' the biggest person, the biggest house, and the biggest coach.' "

--His son, Joseph Shippen, born in Boston, 28 February, 1679 ; died in Philadelphia in 1741, lived in Boston until 1704, when he moved to Philadelphia. He was among the men of science in his day, and in 1727 he joined Benjamin Franklin in founding the Junto "for mutual information and the public good."

--Joseph's son, Edward Shippen, merchant, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 9 July, 1703; died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 25 September, 1781, was brought up to mercantile pursuits by James Logan, and was in business with him in 1732. as Logan and Shippen; afterward with Thomas Lawrence, in the fur-trade, as Ship-pen and Lawrence. In 1744 he was elected mayor of the city. In 1745, and for several years thereafter, he was one of the judges of the court of common pleas. In May, 1752, he removed to Lancaster, where he was appointed prothonotary, and continued such until 1778. He had large transactions as paymaster for supplies for the British and provincial forces when they were commanded by General Forbes, General Stanwix, and Colonel Bouquet, and managed them with so much integrity as to receive public thanks in 1760. He was a county judge under both the provincial and state governments. 

In early life he laid out and founded Shippensburg, Pennsylvania In 1746-'8 he was one of the founders of the College of New Jersey, and he was one of its first board of trustees, which post he resigned in 1767. He was also a subscriber to the Philadelphia academy (afterward the University of Pennsylvania), and was a founder of the Pennsylvania hospital and the American philosophical society. Mr. Shippen's advanced age prevented him from taking an active part, except as a committee-man, during the Revolution, yet his sentiments were warmly expressed in behalf of his country.-

William Shippen, another son of Joseph, physician, born in Philadelphia, 1 October, 1712; died in Germantown, Pennsylvania, 4 November, 1801, applied himself early in life to the study of medicine, for which he had a remarkable genius. He speedily obtained a large and lucrative practice, which he maintained throughout his life. He was a member of the Junto, and aided in founding the Pennsylvania hospital, of which he was the physician from 1753 till 1778, the Public academy, and its successor, the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), being chosen in 1749 one of the first trustees of the academy. He was a trustee of the college in 1755-'79, and a member of the American philosophical society, of which he was vice-president in 1768, and for many years after. He was for nearly sixty years a member of the 2(1 Presbyterian church of Philadelphia, being (1742) one of its founders. On 20 November, 1778, he was chosen by the assembly of Pennsylvania to the Continental congress, and he was re-elected in 1779. He was for thirty years a trustee of Princeton college. 

Dr. Shippen was notably liberal toward the poor, and, it is said, not only gave his professional art and medicines without charge, but oftentimes assisted them by donations from his purse. He retained his physical powers very late in life, and it is said that "at the age of ninety he would ride in and out of the city on horseback without an overcoat in the coldest weather."

--William's son, William, known as William Shippen the younger, physician, born in Philadelphia, 21 October, 1736; died in German-town, Pennsylvania, 11 July, 1808, was graduated at Princeton in 1754, and delivered the valedictory for his class. He studied medicine with his father until 1758., when he went to England, and studied under Dr. John and Dr. William Hunter and Dr. McKenzie, and in 1761 was graduated M. D. at Edinburgh. Returning to Philadelphia in 1762, he entered on the practice of his profession, and on 16 November, 1762, he began the first course of lectures on anatomy that was ever delivered in this country. The first were delivered at the state-house, and the subsequent ones in rooms that were constructed by his father for the purpose in the rear of the latter's residence. After the first lecture he made the following announcement in the "Pennsylvania Gazette ..... Dr. Shippen's anatomical lectures will begin to-morrow evening, at six o'clock, at his father's house in Fourth street. Tickets for the course to be had of the doctor at five pistoles each; and any gentlemen who incline to see the subject prepared for the lectures, and learn the art of dissecting, injecting, etc., are to pay five pistoles snore." 

Dr. Shippen's school of anatomy was continued until 23 September, 1765, when he was chosen professor of anatomy and surgery in the newly established medical school of the College of Philadelphia, of which he was one of the founders. This was the first medical school in this country. Dr. Shippen retained this post till 1780, when he was elected professor of anatomy, surgery, and midwifery m the University of the state of Pennsylvania, and in 1791, on the union of these institutions, under the name of the University of Pennsylvania, he became professor of anatomy in the latter, retaining the place until 1806. On 15 July, 1776, he was appointed chief physician of the Flying camp. In March, 1777, he laid before congress a plan for the organization of a hospital department, which, with some modifications, was adopted, and on 11 April, 1777, he was unanimously elected "Director-General of all the Military Hospitals for the Armies of the United States." He was charged with an improper administration of the office, and arraigned before a military court, which led him to resign the post, 3 January, 1781. 

The investigation did not develop any matters reflecting on his integrity. In 1778-'9, and again from 1791 till 1802, he was one of the physicians of the Pennsylvania hospital. He was for snore than forty years a member of the American philosophical society, in which he held the offices of curator and secretary. His skill and eloquence as a teacher, exercised during forty years in the first medical school in the country, made him widely known at home and abroad, and won for him permanent distinction and respect in the medical world.

--Edward Shippen, son of the second Edward, jurist, born in Philadelphia, 16 February, 1729; died there, 16 April, 1806, at the age of seventeen began the study of the law with Tench Francis, and, while pursuing his studies, drafted the first common recovery in Pennsylvania. In 1748 he went to London to complete his law studies at the Middle Temple, and, returning to Philadelphia, was admitted to the bar. On 22 November, 1752, he was appointed the vice admiralty, and in 1755 he became one of the commissioners to wait upon the "Paxton Boys," who were engaged in an insurrection, to persuade them to disperse, which mission was successful. He held several local offices until the Revolution. He took a deep interest in the provincial wars, and watched and recorded every occasion when the provincial troops were successful. In 1762 he was appointed prothonotary of the supreme court, retaining this post till the Revolution. He became a member of the provincial council in 1770, in which office he served for five years. During the war for independence he probably sympathized with the mother country, as he was, by order of the council, placed on his parole to give neither succor nor information to the enemy. He remained in Philadelphia during the British occupancy. 

In May, 1784, he was appointed president judge of the court of common pleas, and in September of the same year he became a judge of the high court of errors and appeals, which latter office he retained until 1806, when the court was abolished. In 1785 he was chosen a justice for the dock ward of Philadelphia, and in the same year was appointed president of the court of quarter sessions of the peace and oyer and terminer. In 1791, at which time he was still at the head of the court of common pleas, he was appointed an associate justice of the supreme court, in which office he served till 1799. Governor McKean then nominated Judge Shippen to be the chief justice, which office he resigned in 1805. He "was a man of large views," said Chief-Justice Tilghman. "Everything that fell from that venerated man," said Judge Duncan, "is entitled to great respect." 

The best extant portrait of him is that by Gilbert Stuart, now in the Corcoran gallery in Washington, and is represented in the accompanying vignette. To his pen we owe the first law reports in Pennsylvania. In 1790 he received the degree of LL. D. from the University of Pennsylvania, of which institution he was a trustee from 1791 till his death. 

His third daughter, MARGARET Shippen  born in Philadelphia in 1760; died in London, 24 August, 1804, was second wife of Benedict Arnold.

--Joseph, another son of the second Edward Shippen, soldier, born in Philadelphia, 30 October, 1732; died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 10 February, 1810, was graduated at Princeton in 1753, and shortly afterward entered the provincial army, in which he rose to the rank of colonel, and served in the expedition that captured Fort DuQuesne. After the troops were disbanded he went to Europe, partly on a mercantile venture, but chiefly for travel. He returned to Philadelphia in 1761, and in the follow-in/ year was chosen to succeed the Reverend Richard Peters as secretary of the province, in which post he served until the Revolution, when the provincial council ceased to exist. He subsequently removed to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where in 1789 he became a judge of the county courts. He was fond of the fine arts, early noted Benjamin West's genius, and, with William Allen and other friends, greatly aided him with means for pursuing his artistic studies in Italy, for which West was grateful during life. He was for more than forty years a member of the American philosophical society.

--Edward, great-grandson of the second Edward Shippen, lawyer, born on his father's estate, "Elm Hill," Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 16 November, 1821, was the son of Dr. Joseph Galloway Shippen. He received an academical education, studied law, and, on 11 April, 1846, was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia, where he has since practiced, gaining reputation in his profession. Mr. Shippen is known for his active interest in education. He was for many years a member of the board of public education in Philadelphia, and from 1864 till 1869 its president. He has been a delegate to several national educational conventions, before some of which he has delivered important addresses. He is one of the founders of the Teachers' institute and of the Teachers' benevolent association of Philadelphia. By an appointment of the mikado, he was for many years in charge of the Japanese boys that were sent by the government of Japan to this country to be educated.

During the civil war he was chief of the educational department of the sanitary commission. During the Centennial exposition in 1876 Mr. Shippen was the president of the Chilian commission. For his benevolent, interest in the Italians in Philadelphia he received, on 10 October, 1877, from Victor Emanuel, the order of Cavaliere della Corona d'Italia. He is the president of the art club of Philadelphia. He is consul for the Argentine Republic, Chili, and Ecuador, at Philadelphia, and has filled these posts for many years. Several of Mr. Shippen's addresses on educational subjects have been published, among them one on the dedication of the Hollingsworth school, 31 October, 1867 (Philadelphia, 1867) ; "Compensation of Teachers" (1872); and "Educational Antiques" (1874).

--Edward, great-grandson of Chief-Justice Edward Shippen, surgeon, born in New Jersey, 18 June, 1826, is the son of Richard Shippen. He was graduated at Princeton in 1845, and at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1848, entered the navy as assistant surgeon, 7 August, 1849, and was commissioned surgeon, 26 April, 1861. He was on the "Congress" when she was destroyed by the "Merrimac" at Newport News, Virginia, and was injured by a shell, and in 1864-'5 was on the ironclad frigate "New Ironsides " in both attacks on Fort Fisher and the operations of Bermuda Hundred. He made the Russian cruise under Admiral Farragut, was commissioned medical inspector in 1871, was fleet-surgeon of the European squadron in 1871-'3, in charge of the Naval hospital in 1874-'7, commissioned medical director in 1876, and was president of the naval medical examining board at Philadelphia in 1880-'2.

Dr. Shippen has contributed largely to Hamersley's "Naval Encyclopaedia," the "United Service Magazine," and to kindred publications.


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