Florida’s St. Petersburg gets its name from a Russian–Pyotr Alexeyevitch Dementyev (Peter Demens). Russia has a significant circus and freak history, as does Florida. Demens took an unusual path, he landed in Jacksonville and searched for work in undeveloped parts of Florida then headed to California.
Most Russians of early America started off in the west. Fort Ross was a Russian Fort in California. Alaska was Russian owned. The Dakotas became home to a few Russain groups. I’m mainly concerned with the circus connection. St. Petersburg’s proximity to Ringling’s winter camp may factor in my next novel. Fiction based on reality fails to line up the way I prefer, so I will need to improvise.
I need a fictional Russian to arrive before Demens. An indirect route seems more believable. Direct connection from Russia to Florida seems unlikely, in the time period before Demens.