Kirill Khlebnikov was a Russian business agent who made several visits to Alta California. His "Travel Notes" from 1820 describe negotiations to buy grain from the Franciscan priest in charge of Mission Santa Cruz, Ramón Olbes. Khlebnikov wrote about "an Irish sailor who had deserted; he had lived with the padre for a long time, winning his confidence and managing his affairs."

Who was the Irish sailor?

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2 Answers 2


This was probably referring to John Mulligan, who is referred to in this discussion of the population at Branciforte, adjacent to the mission of Santa Cruz:

The total population of Spanish or mixed blood, known as gente de razon in 1820, was estimated at something over 3,000 souls; and of foreigners not of Spanish or Indian parentage, twelve; of these Thomas Doak and Daniel Call, who came in 1816, and Joseph Chapman in 1818, were Americans; John Gilroy in 1814, and John Rose in 1818, were Scotchmen; Thomas Lester in 1817, and I. Thomas in 1818, were Englishmen; John Mulligan in 1814 or 1815, was an Irishman; Jose Bolcof in 1815, was a Russian; Juan Cristobal in 1816, M. J. Pascual and Fisher or Norris in 1818, were negroes.

The above quote appears to be an excerpt from Memorial and Biographical History of the Coast Counties of Central California.

Mulligan is also discussed in more length in The California Padres and Their Missions

...along came Irishman named John Milligan or Mulligan who had stranded in California from some ship and couldn't get away.... he and Padre Luis struck up a friendship the Padre to drive away his ennui I suppose and also because he had a philological turn and had already picked up a couple of Indian languages conceived the notion of Mulligan to teach him English...


Just to add a bit of extra info to justCal's answer, below are links to two document images in the Vallejo volumes. The first is a statement of Mulligan/Milligan's account with William Hartnell in 1829. The second is a letter in 1851 from a solicitor in Belfast to John Milliken's executor William Hartnell. Mulligan/Milligan/Milliken are apparently name variants.

1829 Account statement

1851 Solicitor's letter

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