Primary Source: Chapter 4

Translated excerpt from letter written July 15, 1818, by Ivan Kuskov to Leontii Hagemeister, the Chief Manager of the Russian American Company in Sitka, Russian Alaska.

Dear Sir Leontii Andreevich,

Per your instruction No. 24 dated January 28, 1818 from Sitka, as is my duty to explain the incident concerning the fur trader Iakov Babin, which took place on San Nicolas Island. Upon his arrival in 1814 with the ship Il’mena from Sitka, fur trader Babin was to stay with the Tarakanov hunting party. However, Tarakanov ordered him to stay behind on San Nicolas Island with some canoes, while the rest of the Tarakanov party went to stay on San Clemente Island.

…From there, the Pedler went to San Nicolas Island where Babin and the rest of the hunting party were staying. But Babin was not on the island. As it happened, he took a few men in some canoes and went to Santa Catalina Island. Nepogod’ev picked up that take which was left under the supervision of the locals and left them a receipt… Nepogod’ev also found out from the remaining Kad’iaks (Alaska Natives) that the locals of San Nicolas Island killed one of Babin’s otter hunters. In retaliation, Babin was insolent and acted inhumanely toward the islanders.


Entire letter in Russian. Reprinted with permission from the Russian State Library, Moscow.
English translation by Irina Vladi L. Wender.

Last updated: June 21, 2018