As stated elsewhere, John Ross died while on a trip to Washington, D. C., in August, 1866, and was buried at the old home of his second wife, near Wilmington, Del., but his body was soon taken back to his old home and buried near Park Hill. Upon the occasion of his burial at the latter place, his gifted nephew, William P. Ross, who succeeded him as chief, delivered an eloquent, oration before the Cherokee council at Tahlequah, a portion of which was as follows, taken from the little book “The Life and Times of Hon. William P. Ross”
“My friends : We have come to bury the body of John Ross. We have come to pay homage to his memory as a father, a friend, a neighbor, and the oft chosen ruler of our nation. Upon this sacred eminence he often followed to their last resting place departed friends. Here where he often lingered and pondered, here in view of that shaded streamlet and yonder picturesque hills, of that stately edifice erected through his instrumentality for the education of the daughters of his nation, of the church in which he worshipped, of the blackened ruins of his home, once the abode of peace and refinement, of domestic happiness and enlarged hospitality. Here in the presence of friends and kindred whom he had loved so well, and of the people whom he served through life, and upon whom he bestowed his dying benedictions, we commit to earth the mortal remains of a man who long moved among his people without a peer. Possessed of a robust constitution, a sound and well-developed body, a vigorous mind and a will that calmly met the perplexities of public life and successfully battled its greatest trials, the time in which he lived and the position which he occupied drew around him on one hand a friendship that never faltered, and on the other hand caused him to be assailed with a malignity without a parallel. We claim not for John Ross exemption from error and imperfection, but believe, that he enjoyed in an eminent degree a power of intellect and endurance, a tenacity of purpose and an earnestness of soul which belong only to great men, qualities which impress themselves upon the character of the day in which their possessors live, and send an influence far down the stream of time.
It is proper that here his dust should mingle with kindred dust, and that a suitable monument should arise, to mark the spot where repose the bones of our greatest chieftain. It will keep alive within our bosoms a spirit of patriotism. It will impart strength and hope in the hour of adversity. It will teach us to beware of domestic strife and division. It will serve to unite us more closely in peace, in concord and in devotion to the common welfare. It will soften our asperities and excite the thoughtful youth of our land to patience, to perseverance, to success and to renown.”
Source: Benedict, John D. Muskogee and northeastern Oklahoma, including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. 3 v. illus., ports., facsims. 28 cm. Chicago, S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.