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Near Forks in Jefferson County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Sv. Nikolai Mission

Storm at Sea, War on Land

 
 
<i>Sv. Nikolai</i> Mission Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 21, 2015
1. Sv. Nikolai Mission Marker
Inscription.  
Sv. Nikolai Mission
In September 1808 the Russian American Company (RAC) schooner Sv. Nikolai (Saint Nicholas) set sail from the Russian American Company's fort in Sitka, which was then in Russian territory (now part of the State of Alaska). They sailed on a reconnaissance expedition to New Albion (Oregon Territory). Leading the party is junior Russian naval officer Captain Nikolai Bulygin, joined by his young wife, Anna Petronva Bulygin, a team of promyshlenniks (expert fur hunters), Englishman John Williams, plus five men and two women from the Alutiiq Tribe on Kodiak Island, a native people who the Russians call Aleuts. The ship is on a mission under orders from RAC Governor Alexandr Baranov: find a base for hunting, trading, agriculture with hopes of establishing a permanent colony. Sea otter pelts were then highly valuable trading items for export to China, Europe, and America. Great Britain fighting Napoleonic-era battles, and the Spanish pulling back to California missions from the Pacific Northwest, have created an opening for Russian colonization from Sitka south to San Francisco. Long strands of colorful
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trading beads fill chests stowed in the hold, ready to be traded for furs to underwrite the voyage. A rendezvous is planned at Grays Harbor in the spring with the RAC ship Kad’iak. However, plans for the rendezvous and opening of a new settlement are cancelled by the force of a harsh Northwest ocean storm, and the course of history is changed for what will become the coast of Washington State.

Storm at Sea, War on Land
In late October 1808 the Sv. Nikolai runs into a horrific storm at sea off the Northwest coast. The schooner's crew loses control of its rudder and drifts in high surf and storm waves until grounding on a black sand and gravel beach about a mile and a half north of the mouth of the Quillayute River and the Quileute Tribe's settlement at La Push. The survivors are joyous to be ashore following a storm-driven ordeal along the West End coast that constantly threatened their lives, a crisis at sea where the Sv. Nikolai narrowly misses colliding with sea stacks and rocky islets. The crew salvages what they can from the schooner, place it ashore, and wait for contact with the Quileutes. The Quileute, the Hoh Tribe to the south, and the Makah Nation to the north all dwell in this land. The tribes see the arrival of the white-skinned ho'kwat (wanderers) in mythical and territorial terms. This coast is their ancestral homeland: a place to
<i>Sv. Nikolai</i> Mission Marker (<i>wide view; marker located behind kiosk front wall</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 21, 2015
2. Sv. Nikolai Mission Marker (wide view; marker located behind kiosk front wall)
be defended when outsiders arrive in fear of being attacked and taken away as slaves. The Russian American Company party sees the region as a wild untapped place of natural riches to be claimed. The native people are seen as a source of obtaining those riches, and a hindrance. Seeing the Russian camp fire and goods Quileute warriors begin to search the mysterious cargo of the ho'kwat, and the promyshienniks push them away. The warriors pick up smooth beach stones, throwing them at the shipwrecked party, and pierce some with spears. The Russians open fire with muskets. The warriors flee leaving two dead by the camp on the beach.
 
Erected 2015 by Association of Washington Generals, The Peterson Family, State of Washington, State of Alaska, and American Legion Post 106.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationNative AmericansNotable EventsSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1808.
 
Location. 47° 49.019′ N, 124° 9.132′ W. Marker is near Forks, Washington, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Upper Hoh Road, 0.1 miles east of Linder Creek Lane, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located in the "Journey of the Sv. Nikolai" interpretive kiosk, on the north side of Upper Hoh Road.
Sv. Nikolai Mission (<i>artist's rendition; mounted on kiosk back wall</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 21, 2015
3. Sv. Nikolai Mission (artist's rendition; mounted on kiosk back wall)
Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5833 Upper Hoh Road, Forks WA 98331, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Quileute Indian Tribe (here, next to this marker); Escape to the Hoh River Leads to Captivity (here, next to this marker); Hoh Indian Tribe (here, next to this marker); Makah Indian Tribe (here, next to this marker); Anna Petrovna - Timothei Tarakanov (here, next to this marker); Fort Ross, California - Sitka Castle, Alaska - Fort Elisabeth, Kaua’i, Hawai’i (here, next to this marker); Rain Forest Monarch (approx. 8.4 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Marker is a framed interpretive panel mounted at eye-level on the kiosk wall.
 
Regarding Sv. Nikolai Mission. This monument commemorates the 1808 expedition of the Russian American Company sailing vessel Sv. Nikolai and its crew of 22 explorers who were stranded when their 45-foot schooner went aground on the Pacific Coast north of the Quillayute River. The journey of the Nikolai is one of shipwreck and survival through the harshest of conditions, of love and, ultimately, reconciliation among peoples of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Eventually all the Sv.
<i>Sv. Nikolai</i> Journey Monument Kiosk (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 21, 2015
4. Sv. Nikolai Journey Monument Kiosk (wide view)
Nikolai
crew and passengers were taken into captivity and divided among the Hoh, Quiluete and Makah people. Sv. Nikolai Captain Nikolai Bulygin and his young wife Anna Petrovna, perished during this incident. The Sv. Nikolai incident is the first recorded shipwreck known in Washington State. Anna Petrovna is believed to be the first non-native woman to land on the shores of lands that became Washington State.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The Journey of the Sv. Nikolai
 
Also see . . .
1. Russian schooner Sv. Nikolai. The Sv. Nikolai (Russian: Николай) was a schooner of the Russian American Company sent to Oregon Country in November 1808. Due to a storm it became stuck on the Olympic Peninsula and the crew had to abandon ship. The crew quickly faced hostilities from the Hoh nation, wary of outside invaders. The crew had low food supplies and had to raid to native villages over the next year to avoid starvation. An American ship visited Neah Bay in the spring of 1810 and the RAC employees were rescued and returned to Novo-Arkhangelsk. The failure of the vessel to locate a suitable location for a potential station in the Oregon Country made RAC officials refocus efforts and eventually establish Fort Ross in Alta California. (Submitted on February 6, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
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2. Journey of the Sv. Nikolai. Nikolai Bulygin was the captain of the Sv. Nikolai, a schooner about 45 feet long. Bulygin was sent in 1808 to explore the coast of Washington for possible new settlements. Eighteen year old Anna Petrovna had just married Nikolai and accompanied him on the trip. The voyage had a mandate from Alexander Baranov, the head of the Sitka base, to gather information in advance of Russian colonization. (Submitted on February 6, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Additional keywords. Sv. Nikolai Mission
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 10, 2019. It was originally submitted on February 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 502 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on February 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4. submitted on February 6, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 21, 2024