Mail Call

Mail Call

Letters – For many children, the trip to Fort Ross is their first overnight away from Mom and Dad. Homesickness can be lessened by having an evening mail call when letters written by Mom or Dad are passed out. It is best if the parents’ letters fit into the general theme of the Environmental Living Program.

Have the parents address their letter to the student’s character name. Have them ask questions like “How was your long ship voyage to Fort Ross?” or “Is the company giving you enough to eat?” If possible, keep the letters a secret from the students so that mail call is an even more thrilling surprise.

Mail Call Tips –

  • One option is to have mail call during Night Watch. Each employee can receive and read their letter from home and then write a response letter
  • It’s a good idea to make sure every employee receives a letter — you don’t want anyone to feel left out. Some teachers write back up letters, in case some parents are not able to participate

Sample Letters to/from Fort Ross –

Dear Kiril,   

May this letter find you well. I am writing as there have been stories that Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov visited Fort Ross. The news was that he found many with scurvy and malnutrition. Please send word of your current condition as your Papa and I are very worried for you.

We are also sad to share the next news. Upon Nikolai’s return to Russia, he came down with a very bad fever. On his way to see the Tzar Peter the Great, he fell off his horse and then died a few days later. The country is in great mourning.      

We also heard news, that the area you are in has been over hunted and the otter population has severely declined. To be honest with you, our country prefers the otter pelts from Alaska. Alaskan otters are superior to those in the ‘Americas’.

How is your ship building going? Do you have enough food and supplies? Oh how we miss you Kiril!

May God watch over you and bless you,

Momma, Pappa, and Sister Emily


Dearest Karl,

How much we miss you! It has been a cold cold winter at home! Mama caught cold in her chest and we thought we would lose her but finally all is well. the peasants are hungry in the streets and Papa is feeding many every night. you are in our prayers every day. May you find fortune and prosper in the hands of our good Lord. I hope the Company is good to you and generous. Greetings to our uncle Juan from all.

All our Love,

Your sister Misha and the family


Dear Leontii,

I know that if your mother could see you and all that you have accomplished she would be very happy and proud of you. How was your trip on the ship? How do you like Settlement Ross? I bet you are working hard.

I am proud that you are a blacksmith, even though that must be a lot of work. Are you living in the barracks? I hope that you are getting enough to eat.

When your work is done at the settlement I suggest that you return to Alaska to start a family. I know that someday you will have a large family of sons to help you with your work.

I hope that this letter finds you in good health and much happiness. Things are going well for me and your Uncle Petra who has arrived from Irkutsk. There is much work to do and I have been given many responsibilities so I keep very busy.

Please take good care of yourself.

I hope that we will see you before too many years pass.

Your father, Fedor


Dearest Efim,

It was so good to receive your letter from the last ship’s arrival.  It has been so long since I’ve seen you; I almost forget what you look like.

How is it for you living at Colony Ross?  I wonder if life is hard or easy for you as a ship builder and farmer.  Have your crops been plentiful? How is your crew? Do they work hard for you?

And how is your beautiful family?  Do the children like living in that faraway land?  I miss them so much. I hope your wife is happy at Colony Ross.  I hope she has many friends and does not have to work too hard. That is all for now, Efim. Please write back soon.

I love you very much. Mother.