One hopes this might flush out some information, because it doesn’t seem to be forthcoming as far as the World War I connection.

Louis Shipshee was born on the Potawatomi reservation near Mayetta on August 11, 1896.  A self-taught artist, his work has enjoyed some popularity over the years.  This link will take you to a little biographical information:

The intriguing line is this:  “He served in the U.S. Army in World War I, stationed in Siberia.”  We know he registered for the draft on June 5, 1918 at Wichita.  He listed Mayetta as his home address, but was working for a sugar company in Eaton, Colorado.  Aside from a later mention that he served in Siberia, we know nothing of his experiences.

The implications of that one line tells us that Shipshee was part of the American Expeditionary Force that went to Vladivostok and remained from 1918 to 1920.  Conditions were terrible, and the mission cannot be called a success.  One would think that Shipshee might have much to tell, but if he talked about it, it doesn’t seem to have survived.

Perhaps there is family that can tell us more about this Native American artist and his WWI experiences?

NOTE:  His WWI draft registration and Social Security death index gives his birthdate as August 11, 1896.  His WWII registration gives it as January 24, 1895, and his gravestone as January 24, 1896.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.