Whipple Database

Of the Guild of One-Name Studies

John William Whipple, M.D.

John William Whipple, M.D.

Male 1820 - 1865  (45 years)

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  • Name John William Whipple 
    Suffix M.D. 
    Born 1820  , , Vermont Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1865  Illapel, Chile Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I6841  Whipple Descendants
    Last Modified 26 Feb 2019 

    Family Adela Román,   b. of, , , Chile Find all individuals with events at this location 
    +1. Amedes Whipple Roman,   b. of, Chile Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F3967  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1820 - , , Vermont Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • !SOURCE: Email from Oscar Eduardo Whipple Ascui (email hidden) to Weldon Whipple, March 1997

      !SOURCE: Email from Pablo Whipple (email hidden) to Weldon Whipple, 26 Feb 2019.
      It is not clear when John William Whipple (JW) arrived in Chile or if he came directly from the US to Chile. One source says that he was first in Bolivia. What is clear, is that he left the US soon after getting his MD from Harvard in 1852 https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:43381270$537i

      Before attending Harvard, JW went to Brown University, at least between 1841and 1843, according to the University Catalogue. The catalogue also says his residence was in Rutland, Vermont for the year 41-42, and Providence Rhode Island for the year 42-43.


      By 1857 JW was in Chile, and ask the University of Chile to validate his medical degree. Among other requirements, he had to write a dissertation about common diseases in Massachusetts (in Spanish, I have a copy). Once allowed to practice medicine in the Country, he was appointed as a state doctor in the rural town of Curico (100 miles south of Santiago, in Chile’s central Valley) during that same year. Although he was initially welcome by the community, soon after he got involved in several conflicts with local authorities because of the manner he practiced medicine, having to leave his first appointment, and practicing after in several small rural communities. At that time he was one of the few professionals in the country willing to work outside main cities like Santiago and Valparaiso. He was even appointed to Punta Arenas, a town that had been recently founded by the Chilean government in the Magellan Strait. After nine years in the country, he died in 1865 in the mining town of Illapel (180 miles north from Santiago) where he was appointed the year before to help with a smallpox outbreak affecting the area. Because he died of smallpox himself, his body was thrown to a cliff, together with the bodies of others that died from the disease.

      JW story is quite remarkable and full of open questions such as why he came from Harvard to a country like Chile, to end up his days dying from smallpox while practicing medicine in one of the poorest and more isolated areas of the country at that time.

      Some events after his death are more intriguing. In 1893, the US government contacted the Chilean ambassador in the US to ask information regarding John William Whipple descendants in Chile. The ambassador was informed by local authorities about who JW married (AdelaRoman), and about his son Amedes (my great grandfather), including where did he lived at that time and his professional activities. According to one newspaper article published that same year, the reason behind the interest in contacting JW son, was because JW two sisters in the US had died recently and there was an inheritance to be claimed.

      Although I have copy of the report sent to the US by Chilean authorities informing about JW descendants and the newspaper article published in 1893, I never heard my father or anyone in my family say anything about this, and it seems that Amedes make no effort in contacting his relatives in the US.

      In 1897 Amedes was again contacted from the US, this time by Harvard University asking details about his father’s life, also asking where his father was born in the US. Amedes answered that he did not remember because his father died when he was one year old and never heard his mother say the specific place where he was born. (a copy of that letter was sent to me by the Harvard Archive). Although Amedes did not give them news about JW birth place, The History of Harvard Medical School published in 1905 says that JW was born in 1820 in Vermont


      Finaly, JW was listed as one of the claims the US had against Chile before the King of England George V, known as the Alsop Claim. These claims were mainly commercial conflicts and although I have some diplomatic documents about the case, is not clear why JW was included (mistreatment by Chilean authorities, the way he died, I don’t know)


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