Officer Alonzo B. Bishop

Sgt Benjamin Graham

Police Officer Alonzo B. Bishop 

On this day in Baltimore City Police History 29 August 1899 we lost our brother Police Officer Alonzo B. Bishop to the departments first ever traffic related death.

At the time Baltimore was a booming port city and accidents were a natural part of the busy streets of Baltimore. Western District’s Officer Alonzo B. Bishop and Wagon Driver William Smeak were patrolling the Western, a district of heavy footed drivers and rumbling street cars. The two were headed to answer a wagon call to call box #23 (Poppleton & Pratt) where they were to pick up a prisoner from an officer that had just made an arrest. As they began crossing Freemount Ave. they were struck by street car number #556 of the Freemount Ave. line. Those that witnessed the collision said it hit with such force that it lifted and threw the wagon across the street and into a telephone pole. Officer John Delaney was nearby and witnessed the accident, he quickly gained control of the wagon, and horses (In 1899 a wagon man operated horse drawn wagons) P/O Delaney righted the wagon, and with assistance from the public loaded both men into the wagon; he then drove them to University of Maryland Hospital (some things never change). Wagon man Smeak, was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Officer Bishop however was in agony, as he lay there in the hospital ER. Doctors at the time felt if they could operate they might be able to save his life, but he developed a Peritonitis, which is an inflammation of the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs. Since Officer Bishop’s injuries were mostly abdominal surgery was impossible. He was in an unbearable pain as he lay there knowing there was nothing that could be done, and that he was waiting to die. His family by his side, he said his goodbyes, and died on this day 29 August 1899.

At the time of his death Officer Bishop was 42 years old, he was married, and had two grown sons Alonzo and John, and a grown daughter Bessie, all married.

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Aug 25, 1899;

Western District Patrol Wagon - Crew Badly Injured

Patrol Wagon Driver William Smeak and Reserve Officer Alonzo Bishop, of the Western police district, were thrown from the patrol wagon early this morning at Lexington and Fremont streets. Officer Bishop sustained n fractured skull and was otherwise Injured. Driver Smeak was injured internally. Both were taken to the Maryland University Hospital. Officer Bishop is not expected to live. The patrol wagon was crossing Fremont Street at Lexington when it was struck by car 536 of the McMechen street division of the United Railways and Electric Company.

The force of the car knocked the wagon into a telegraph post on the Southwest corner. The wagon was badly broken. The wagon was responding to a call from box 25, at Poppleton and Pratt streets. In going to this box it is customary to drive west on Lexington street and thence south on Poppleton street on account of the asphalt pavement. Before reaching cross streets the bell of the patrol wagon Is rung to notify wagons and cars of Its coming. The wagon passed over the east tracks on Fremont street and was half way across the west tracks, when it was struck by the car, which was bound south. Officer Bishop was thrown out first, as the car struck the rear wheel immediately behind where he was sitting. He fell on his head and was rendered unconscious. The force of the car raised the back of the wagon from the street, hurling it against the telegraph post. Drlver Smeak was thrown into the middle of the street. Patrolman John R. Delaney, who was on duty near the corner, went to the assistance of the injured men. He notified Lieutenant Kalbfielsch and then put the men in the wagon to take them to the hospital. Driver Smeak was conscious. He was unable to tell how the wagon was struck. Deputy Marshal Farnan and Captain Cadwallader were notified and both went to the hospital. Conductor Egbert P. Maynard and Motorman Robert S. Berry had charge of the car. Neither would make a statement. The dashboard of the car was demolished. After taking the men to the hospital Patrolman Delancy answered the call at box 25, which was for a colored man charged with being drunk and disorderly. Driver Smeak is considered one of the best hostlers in the employ of the Police Department. He is unmarried and lives at 706 West Lexington Street. He was appointed a patrolman April 2, 1887, and has been In charge of the wagon at the Western Station since the patrol system was put into use, about nine years ago. He is careful and attentive to his work. He Is 43 years old. Officer Bishop was born in Baltimore in 1830. He was appointed a patrolman on August 19, 1886, and since his connection with the department figured in a number of important arrests. Of late years he has been reserve officer at the Western Station at night, and went with the wagon on all calls. He is married and lives at 1307 North Gilmor street.

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Aug 30, 1899;

Injuries He Received In A Collision. Prove Fatal Reserve Officer Alonzo Bishop, of the Western Police District, who was injured last Thursday night in a collusion between the patrol wagon and a car of the Fremont avenue line, died early yesterday morning at the Maryland University Hospital. His wife and son were with him at the time of his death. Previous to Monday some slight hopes of his recovery were entertained, but peritonitis set in during that day, and the fatal result was afterward expected. It was found that he would be unable to stand an operation for peritonitis, and none was made. An inquest will be held Sunday at l P.M. at the Western Police Station. Mr. Bishop was born in Baltimore in 1837.

He was reared and educated here, and went on the police force in 1886. His work as patrolman was very successful, and he was liked by all those associated with him. His widow, two sons John W. and Alonzo, both married and a married daughter, Mrs. Bessie Haugh, survive him. Mr. Bishop's home was at 1307 North Gilmor Street. As his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department we will not let him be forgotten, His service Honored the City of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Police Department may he rest in peace, and may God bless him.
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More Details

End of Watch 29 August, 1899
City, St.     Fremont Street at Lexington
Panel Number 32-E: 15
Cause of Death      Fall
District Worked Western


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