The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West

By Chris Enss | Go to book overview

ELLIS REYNOLDS SHIPP
CHILDREN'S DOCTOR

The more I learn, the more understandingly I can say we are
beautifully and wonderfully made.

—Ellis Shipp, February 3, 1876

The sick baby cradled in Ellis Shipp's arms was too weak to cry. She stared sadly up at her mother with eyes pleading for help. Ellis had none to give her suffering daughter. She had employed all of the remedies she knew to give to typhoid patients, but nothing had worked. The eight-month-old little girl languished with a fever and softly whimpered. Ellis could only hold her beloved Anna close and rock her tiny frame back and forth until at last she passed.

Ellis tearfully mourned the death of her “precious one,” but believed the Lord had great purpose in taking the child. Anna was the second baby she had lost in five years. The tragedy sparked a desire in Ellis to pursue an education in medicine. She felt her calling was inspired by God, and dedicated her life to helping preserve the lives of other mothers' ailing children.

Doctor Ellis Reynolds Shipp was born in David County, Iowa, on January 20, 1847. She was the oldest of the five children her parents, William Fletcher Reynolds and Anna Hawley, brought into this world.

In 1852, William moved his family across the Great Plains to

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