Simeon Peter Shope was born on December 3rd, 1834 in Akron Ohio. As a boy he was incredibly athletic and retained a physically strong physique throughout his life. When he was young, his family moved to Woodfard County, Illinois. In Illinois, Shope attended Eureka College. Shope studied law under Judge Powell and Judge Purple before entering into his own practice. Upon his admittance to the bar, Shope moved to Lewiston, Illinois and began his own private practice.
As a lawyer, Shope quickly became known for his eloquence as a speaker. His oratory power led not only to success in the legal field, but also in the realm of politics. Shope was an avid Democrat and became heavily involved in the party in Illinois. From 1862-1864 Shope served as a representative in the Illinois House of Representatives.
In 1877, Shope was elected Circuit Court Judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit of Illinois. He was re-elected to another term as Circuit Judge but stepped down after his second term and set his sights on the Supreme Court of Illinois. Shope successfully ran and was elected to the Supreme Court of Illinois on June 1st of 1885. He moved to Chicago upon his election to the Supreme Court; however, he stepped down in 1894 after serving only one term. Despite his having served but one term, in 1889 Shope acted as Chief Justice to the court. After retiring from the Supreme Court, Shope continued his private practice of law up until his sudden death. In his life time, Shope was a member of a number of elite organizations including the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Pythias, and the Masonic Order.
Shope was unfortunate enough to witness the death of all of his immediate family. Shope had lived with his daughter in Chicago, until she died in 1918. Although four grand-children survived him, friends stated that with the death of his daughter, a “light had gone out of his life.” On January 23rd, 1920 Simeon Peter Shope was killed in a car accident in Chicago.
Next: Alonzo K. Vickers
- Chicago Legal News 52(1920):213
- “Simeon P. Shope.” http://www.state.il.us/court/supremecourt/justicearchive/Bio_Mulkey.asp