Bishop was a member of the Washington City and California Gold Mining
Association captained by the well-known trails diarist, J. Goldsborough
Bruff. Bishop died of cholera on July 8, 1849, while encamped near the
North Platte River. As with many victims of this disease, Bishop quickly
succumbed. Bruff, who personally carved the head and footstones for Bishop,
organized a solemn and majestic funeral ceremony for the deceased. The
funeral was also attended by the New York Colony Guards, which provided
a military style gun salute. It is believed that Bishop had served in
the Mexican War.
of funeral: The messmates of the deceased laid him out, sewed him
up in his blue blanket, and prepared a bier, formed of his tent-poles.
I had a grave dug in a neighboring ridge, on left of the trail, about
400 yards from it. Dry clay and gravel, and coarse white sand-stone on
the next hill, afforded slabs to line it with, making a
perfect vault. (Bruff himself carved the lettering on the head and footstone.)
I then organized a funeral procession, men all in clean clothes and uniforms,
with music (a key-bugle, flute, violin, and accordion) and two and two,
with the Stars & stripes over the body, we marched to the measured
time of the dirge, deposited the body of our comrade in the grave, an
elderly gentleman read the burial service, and we filled up the grave,
erected the stones, and returned to camp.
National Park Service
Comprehensive Management Plan