Biographies - Shippy, George M., 1855-1913


Captain of Police, South Chicago, was born in Chicago June 24, 1854, and attended the Jones, Foster and Douglas public schools (graduating at the latter), and then took a business course at Allen's Academy. After leaving the academy he joined the Fire Department August 23, 1876; was promoted to Lieutenant February 2, 1879, to Captain December 24, 1884, and transferred to Engine 21. He resigned in 1886 and engaged in business until he was appointed Police Patrolman by Chief Ebersold, serving under Captain Buckley at Harrison Street Station, and later as Desk Sergeant at the Stanton Avenue and the Twenty-second Street Stations for one and a half years, and then as Minute Clerk for Judge Driggs and Deputy Clerk under Circuit Clerk Henry Best; later acted as condemnation record writer for all the suits brought by the "Alley L" Railroad Company.

During the administration of Mayor Washburne, on June 19, 1891, Mr. Shippy was appointed Lieutenant at the Harrison Street Police Station; was promoted to Captain October 5, 1891; and transferred to Woodlawn Station April, 1892; was Captain of Police at the opening of the World's Fair and had charge of the escort for Mayor C. H. Harrison, Sr., on the occasion of the visit of Princess Eulalia, of Spain, to Chicago. A squad of twenty-five policemen was chosen from 700 patrolmen, each of them ranging in height from six feet one and a half inches up, Captain Shippy being the shortest man of the squad. He resigned in July, 1893, and again went into business for himself, but was returned to the Woodlawn Station under Mayor Swift, and transferred to the Stock Yards Station by C. H. Harrison, Jr., remaining for one and a half years. He took the civil service examination on November 30, 1898, and was transferred to South Chicago Station, and in 1904 is serving as Police Inspector. During the labor strike on April 29, 1900, he was sent to the Des Plaines Street Station by his honor, Carter H. Harrison, to assist the old veteran, John D. Shea, in suppressing the assaults.

Captain Shippy's father, Richard, was a member of the Police Department from 1857 to 1877, and was the first member of the Lake Street Squad (now Central Detail). He came from Utica, N. Y., to Chicago in 1846, and was married at the Matteson House to Miss Mary E. Smith of Syracuse, N. Y.

Captain Shippy, the son of Richard, married Miss Sadie Randall in Lee County, Ill., October 27, 1879, and four children have been born of this union, two of whom are now living.

Source: Historical encyclopedia of Illinois. Cook County ed. (Chicago : Munsell Pub. Co., 1905). v. 1, p. 996-997, George M. Shippy.


George M. Shippy, general superintendent of police of the city of Chicago, has won promotion to the head of his department, both because of his fearlessness as an officer and his executive talents, and his courteous and pleasing personality. He was born in this city, on the 24th of June, 1854, and after attending the Jones, Foster and Douglas public schools took a business course at Allen's Academy.

In August, 1876, Mr. Shippy joined the fire department, being promoted to a lieutenancy in February, 1879. He became a captain in December, 1884, but resigned in 1886. After engaging in business for a time, he was appointed police patrolman by Chief Ebersold, first serving under Captain Buckley at the Harrison Street station and later as desk sergeant at the Stanton Avenue and Twenty-second Street stations. After holding this latter position for a year and a half he became minute clerk for Judge Driggs and later deputy circuit clerk under Henry Best. Subsequently he acted as record clerk in the condemnation proceedings brought by the South Side, Alley L. Railroad Company.

As Mr. Shippy had so thoroughly demonstrated his unusual capacity for all kinds of police work, he was not allowed long to occupy such purely clerical positions, and in June, 1891, Mayor Washburne appointed him lieutenant at the Harrison Street station. He was promoted to captain October 5, 1891, and was transferred to Woodlawn station in April, 1892. He was captain of police at the opening of the World's Columbian Exposition, and had charge of the escort of Mayor Harrison (the elder) on the occasion of the visit of the Princess Eulalia, of Spain. In July, 1893, he resigned his captaincy and again entered business, but was returned to the Woodlawn station by Mayor Swift and transferred to the Stock Yards station by Mayor Harrison, the younger. The latter action was a decided tribute to his character as a brave, active and efficient officer, as that section of the city was consider peculiarly turbulent and troublesome. In November, 1898, he passed the civil service examination, was transferred to the South Chicago station and in 1904 was promoted to be police inspector of the great west side district, with headquarters at the Desplaines Street station.

While thus serving as police inspector Mr. Shippy continually strengthened his reputation as a fine disciplinarian and upon the occasion of unusual disturbance of the public peace and in the unraveling of many notorious crimes, his coolness and bravery as an officer and his skill as a detective were in high demand. During the labor riots of April 29, 1900, while still captain of the South Chicago station, he was sent to the Desplaines Street station by the mayor, to assist the veteran John D. Shea. Of the prominent cases of which he has been placed in charge within recent years perhaps the most notorious was that of John Hoch, who expiated his many crimes at the gallows. In April, 1907, he reached the height of his deserved promotions at the hands of Mayor Fred A. Busse, who appointed him to the superintendency. He has there demonstrated a marked administrative ability, and has instilled a new spirit of earnestness and reform into the service. On March 2, 1908, less than a year after he had assumed the duties of the superintendency, occurred the most tragic event of his life, which also stirred the city and the police department as it has not been agitated since the memorable casualty on Haymarket Square. Shortly before nine o'clock, on the morning of that day, a Russian youth, named Lazarus Averbuch, and a late arrival in this country, called at the chief's house on the north side and asked to see him. Mr. Shippy was about to start for headquarters, his horse and driver waited for him in front of the house, and he himself answered the youth's summons. Averbuch handed him an envelope purporting to contain a note to be read, but the chief became instinctively suspicious, and seizing the Russian's hands, called to his wife who was beside him to search the stranger for concealed weapons. There was an instant and fierce struggle, during which, however, a revolver was discovered in Averbuch's pocket; the Russian stabbed the chief under the arm, and, although thrown to the floor, shot the driver through the wrist and Harry, Mr. Shippy's son, through the chest. Both had come bravely to the rescue, the latter rushing from a sick bed to his father's assistance. When Harry Shippy fell, with blood gushing from his wound, both his father and the driver (Foley) directed a fusillade of bullets at the would-be assassin, who himself fell to the floor and almost instantly expired. Mr. Shippy's son was at once taken to Augustana Hospital, and by skilful and tender nursing, aided by a naturally robust constitution, recovered from what at first was feared to be a fatal injury. The result of the attempted assassination was to stir not only the department to activity against all anarchists and their organizations, but to start a movement among the national authorities which bids fair to result in the passage of deportation and exclusion laws directed against known and notorious enemies of constituted government.

Chief Shippy comes of good police stock, for his father, Richard Shippy, was a member of the police department from 1857 to 1877, and was the first member of the Lake Street squad, now known as the Central Detail. The elder Shippy came from Utica, New York, to Chicago, in 1846, and was married at the Matteson House to Miss Mary E. Smith, of Syracuse, New York. Chief Shippy married Miss Sadie Randall in Lee county, Illinois, on the 27th of October, 1879, and of the four children born to them two are still living. In his private relations he presents an admirable example of upright and able citizenship. His fraternal connections are with masonry, in which he has reached the degree of a Knight Templar and Shriner, being a member of Medinah Temple and the Eastern Star. Professionally he belongs to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and is also a member of the Chicago Association of Commerce, South Shore Country Club and the Illinois Athletic Association.

Source: Historical review of Chicago and Cook County (Chicago : Lewis Pub. Co., 1908). v. 2, p. 847-849, George M. Shippy.

Compiled and maintained by Robert V. Bremer
Shippee, Shippey, Shippy Genealogy