Dr. William Shippen, Sr.

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William Shippen, Sr.

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Shippen and Abigail Shippen
Husband of Susannah Shippen
Father of William Shippen, Jr., 2nd Surgeon General of the Continental Army
Brother of Edward Shippen, Mayor of Philadelphia; Joseph Shippen and Anne Willing

Managed by: Private User
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About Dr. William Shippen, Sr.


William Shippen, Sr. (October 1, 1712 – November 4, 1801) was an American physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a civic and educational leader who represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress.


William was born to Joseph Shippen (1679–1741, son of Edward Shippen, governor of Pennsylvania) and Abigail Grosse Shippen (1677–1716) at Philadelphia. His father was a prominent merchant. William studied medicine and built a large practice in Philadelphia. In 1735 he married Susannah Harrison.

Shippen joined the vestrymen who founded the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia in 1742. He joined Benjamin Franklin and other civic leaders to found the Public Academy in 1749 and served as one of its trustees. When it merged with another school to become the College of Philadelphia, he served as a trustee of the college from 1755 to 1779; the College is now the University of Pennsylvania. William's brother, Edward Shippen (1703–1781, grandfather of Peggy Shippen) was one of the founders of Princeton University, for which William served as a trustee from 1765 to 1796.

The Pennsylvania Assembly chose Shippen as a delegate to the Continental Congress on November 20, 1778. He represented his state during congressional sessions in 1779 and 1780, after which he returned to his medical practice.

William remained active well into his eighties. He died at home in Germantown in 1801 and is buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard at Philadelphia.


His son, William Shippen, Jr., followed his father in a medical career and served as Director of Hospitals for the Continental Army. William, Jr.'s wife, Alice Lee, was the daughter of Thomas Lee of the Lee family of Virginia; their daughter Nancy Shippen married Robert Beekman Livingston, the son of Robert Livingston (1718-1775).

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Dr. William Shippen, Sr.'s Timeline

October 1, 1712
Age 23
November 4, 1801
Age 89