Several books and articles indicate that Osip Volkov defected from a Russian ship at Monterey around 1815, midway through the Mexican War of Independence. Naturalized as Jose Antonio Bolcof, he served as alcalde of Branciforte. The Russian-American Company had a royal monopoly on the fur trade in America. What was the ship on which Volkov arrived in California?

  • @Steve Bird, was he a fur trader? I've not seen any evidence supporting your edit. I thought he was a low ranked seaman on a fur trading voyage. – Aaron Brick Oct 21 '16 at 17:03
  • This article refers to him as a fur trader and I thought that adding that derail made sense of your reference to the Russian-American Company having a royal monopoly on the fur trade. – Steve Bird Oct 21 '16 at 18:26
  • Richard Pierce's "Russian America: A Biographical Dictionary" gives his job title as seaman. The ship was on a fur hunting, not a fur trading, voyage. Editing accordingly. – Aaron Brick Dec 18 '16 at 19:14

According to pg 317 of the Book California Through Russian Eyes, by James R Gibson,

...while hunting sea otters from the Ilmena, he either jumped ship or was captured by a Spanish patrol.

The Ilmena is listed as 'purchased from the Americans' on the Russia-America Company wiki page.

So there's your ship name, and yes he was employed in the fur trade.

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