Fort Ross Bill of Sale

Fort Ross Bill of Sale

This document is a shortened ‘Bill of Sale’ from The Russian-American Company to John A. Sutter from New Helvetia (located in present-day Sacramento).

*See the Russian Vocabulary and Phrases for an explanation of the measurements.

December 20th, 1841

Inventory and Bill of Sale transferring possession of Russia’s California Properties to John Sutter.

Inventory of structures and chattels located at Port Bodega, the Ross Settlement, and the Russian-American Company ranchos.

Fort Ross Settlement –

A square fort surrounded by a row of posts 172 sazhens long by 2 sazhens high. There are turrets in two of the corners. Inside the fort are the following structures – 

  • The old house for the commandant, two stories, built of beams. There  are 6 rooms and a kitchen
  • The new house for the commandant… There are 6 rooms and vestibule
  • The house for Company employees, which has ten rooms and 2  vestibules
  • The barracks with 8 rooms and 2 vestibules
  • The old warehouse, two stories, with an open gallery and pillars
  • The granary, built of planks
  • A kitchen
  • A storehouse for provisions
  • An attached jailhouse
  • The chapel with a cupola
  • A well, 2 1/2 sazhens deep

Outside the fort there is a forge and blacksmith shop, a tannery, the public bath, a cooperage, a shed for baidarkas. Around the fort is a public kitchen, two byres built of beams, a corral, a shed for ewes, a shed for swine, a dairy, a storehouse for cleaning wheat, a wooden threshing floor, a windmill with a grindstone, a windmill with one stone, a horse powered mill with a grindstone, a machine for making cordage, a carpentry shed, a planked floor for winnowing wheat, a well.

In addition there are 24 dwellings around the fort. At almost every dwelling there is an orchard enclosed by palings, and there are 8 sheds, 8 bathhouses, and 10 kitchens.

Located at 500 sajens from the fort there are the following – 

  • A planked threshing floor, with an adjoining shed
  • An orchard with more than 260 fruit trees including 207 apple trees, 29 peach trees, 10 pear trees, 10 quince trees, 8 cherry trees. In the orchard there is a new four-room house
  • The house has a kitchen
  • A small garden with some 20 fruit trees. At Ross there is as much as 70 arpents of arable land, most of which is enclosed by fences. Another fruit garden enclosed by a fence…with a small orange grove

The Kostromitinov Ranch –

  • A barracks…..covered with planking with 3 rooms and a vestibule
  • A warehouse…..covered with planking. there are seed storage compartments inside
  • A house
  • Two wooden threshing floors
  • A wheat-winnowing floor…built on posts
  • A shack for Indians, built of planks
  • A kitchen…with two stoves
  • A bathhouse
  • A boat for crossing the Slavianka river

The Khlebnikov Ranch –

  • A 3-room adobe house…covered with planks and surrounded by a  hedge. Next to it is a sundial
  • A barracks…divided into 3 sections, covered with planks
  • A storehouse…covered with planks, with compartments for storing seed
  • A large wood threshing floor
  • A kitchen and a forge…covered with planks
  • 4 shacks for the Indians and for storing provisions. These are of  various dimensions
  • A horse-powered mill with one stone, which can grind 4 fanegas per day
  • A large corral for the livestock
  • The arable land is enclosed by a fence. The fields here produce very good fava beans, maize, tobacco, watermelons, and other things

The Chernykh Ranch –

  • A 6 room barracks…covered with planks
  • A kitchen
  • A bathhouse
  • A storehouse for provisions, covered with planks
  • A floor for winnowing wheat
  • Two shacks for supplies
  • A threshing floor
  • Two hot houses made of planks
  • The arable land is enclosed by a fence

Bodega –

  • A storehouse with an open gallery surrounded by columns…covered with planks, well suited for storing seeds and merchandise
  • A house…with 3 rooms and a stove
  • A bath house
  • A corral
  • A boat
  • A cottage on the grazing ground
  • A large corral
  • A shack and a corral
  • The boats
    •  A copper covered small boat, well suited for navigating all along the coast of California. 25 tons. 
    • Two hide covered launches, one has 16 oars, the other, 18 
    • A baidarka
    • A long boat

Machinery and agricultural equipment


  • A cast iron for threshing wheat
  • A fogh harrow 
  • 27 ox drawn plows 
  • 24 horse drawn plows 
  • 26 pairs of plowshares 
  • 21 harrows 
  • 24 harnesses
  • 30 horse harnesses 
  • 21 bridles
  • 29 saddles
  • 8 bridles bits       
  • 16 saddle blankets
  • 5 4-wheeled carts 
  • 10 2-wheeled carts
  • 15 pairs of wheels


  • 14 laurel wood chairs
  • 4 armchairs
  • 1 couch
  • 1 oval table
  • 1 square table
  • 1 armoire
  • 3 cushion cases
  • 2 bed sheets
  • 8 chairs covered with hide
  • 11 wood chairs
  • 3 armoires with windows
  • 4 ditto
  • 6 spring-roller shades


  • 1700 oxen
  • 1700 cows
  • 940 horses and mules
  • 900 ewes and wethers


P. Kostromitinov


J.A. Sutter Received from Mr. Sutter in the month of December, 1841, in Spanish piasters $400.00

Due from Mr. Sutter to the Russian-American Company $33,468.16

TOTAL $33,868.16


P. Kostromitinov

Port San Francisco

19 December 1842 vs.

Current Account

Russian-American and Mr. Sutter

According to the stipulated contract, $30,000 for the sale of the structures and chattels at Ross. By another current account for various merchandise, provisions, and goods to total $ 3,868.16 

TOTAL $33,868.16

The contract continues to describe how payments will be made, when payments will be made, what price is being paid, and what amount of grain will be delivered for payment. It states when Mr. Sutter will have the grain ready and at what port. The contract also goes into detail about who will pay the cost of shipping, who will load the grain, and what will happen if the grain is not available. The last part of the contract goes into detail about what would happen if the two countries go to war. Finally, it describes what might happen if payment is not made.