Sv. Nikolai Mission

Sv. Nikolai Mission (HM2E85)

Location: Forks, WA 98331 Jefferson County
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Country: United States of America
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N 47° 49.019', W 124° 9.132'

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Storm at Sea, War on Land

Sv. Nikolai MissionIn 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 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 LandIn 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 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.
HM NumberHM2E85
Year Placed2015
Placed ByAssociation of Washington Generals, The Peterson Family, State of Washington, State of Alaska, and American Legion Post 106
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, February 10th, 2019 at 7:04pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10T E 413748 N 5296601
Decimal Degrees47.81698333, -124.15220000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 47° 49.019', W 124° 9.132'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds47° 49' 1.1399999999999" N, 124° 9' 7.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)360
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5843 Upper Hoh Rd, Forks WA 98331, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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