Ivan Alexander Kuskov
by Mark Goedicke
Privet! My name is Ivan Kuskov, founder of Settlement Ross (Fort Ross). I was born in Tot'ma, Russia in 1765 and I have almond skin, cinnamon hair, and sea-colored eyes. I came to Settlement Ross by ship three times: 1808, May of 1810, and my biggest expedition in November of 1811.
When my good friend Alexander Baronov sent me on my first expedition to Settlement Ross (then just known as California) with two ships, one was wrecked and the other boat was safe which I was on. I explored along the coast of California and on December 15, went to what the Spanish called Bodega Bay where my crew and I stayed hunting and exploring. We left on August 2, 1809. When I arrived back in Alaska, I told of the riches that California held and that I had found a site for a settlement near Bodega Bay.
When I went on my third expedition to California (May of 1810), I tried to hunt except my ship, the Juno, was attacked by Kolosh Indians with the help of an American trader named Samuel Hill. Eight Aleuts were killed and I went back to Sitka except on the way back my crew and I ran into a terrible storm and the ship lost one of its masts, an anchor, food, three guns, and two men who were swept overboard.
When I went on my third expedition to California (November of 1811), I was 46 years old and it was my biggest expedition because Baronov sent me to start a settlement in California called Settlement or Colony Ross (now called Fort Ross). I took along 25 Russian artisans, materials needed to build the fort, and a group of 80 Aleuts with 40 baidarkas for hunting sea otters. It was a very exciting trip but very long so I had to be patient. Luckily, we didn't get attacked like I did on my second voyage.
When the fort was being built I was very happy and excited but when it was done, I was happier. Even though I didn't live with any family members I had two good friends Alexander Baronov and his son Antipatr Baronov. My job at the fort was to make sure everything was going well or in other words to be the founder. In my free time, I would visit my friends Alexander and Atipatr.
After 31 years of being at Settlement Ross and Alaska ,I was finally going home. In 1822, I left Russian America. When I arrived at St. Petersburg I was given 58,425 rubles, 23 kopecks. I also had six sea otter pelts for another 7,000 rubles. I returned to Tot'ma where I live with my wife Ekaterina Prokhorovna Kuskova.
Ivan Alexander Kuskov lived with his wife until he died in October 1823.
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