John Ledyard

Born: Nov 1751, Groton, CT
Died: 10 Jan 1789, Cairo, Egypt

American Explorer

Common Ancestor:
John Youngs
10th Gr Grandfather
of Merle G Ladd
3rd Gr Grandfather
of John Ledyard
Sarah Youngs Christopher Youngs
Sarah Scofield Benjamin Youngs
John Pettit Mary Youngs
Mary Pettit Abigail Hempstead
Ann Bouton John Ledyard
Hannah Waterbury  
Anna Fancher  
Lucilla Fancher  
Douglas C Ladd  
Irving L Ladd  
Allen D Ladd  
Merle G Ladd  
Relationship to Merle G Ladd:
4th Cousin, 7 Times Removed
John Ledyard briefly attended Dartmouth College (which was then only 19 years old), arriving on April 22, 1772. He left for two months without permission in August and September of that year, led a mid-winter camping expedition, and finally abandoned the college for good in May 1773. Memorably he fashioned his own dugout canoe and paddled it for a week down the Connecticut River to his grandfather's farm. At loose ends, he decided to travel; "I allot myself a seven year's ramble more," he wrote to a cousin. He shipped as a common seaman on a year-long trading voyage to Gibraltar, the Barbary Coast, and the Caribbean. On his next voyage, he jumped ship in England, but was soon impressed and forced to join the British Navy as a marine.

In June 1776, Ledyard joined Captain James Cook's third and final voyage as a British marine. The expedition lasted until October 1780. During these four years, its two ships stopped at the Canary Islands, Cape of Good Hope, the Prince Edward Islands off South Africa, the Kerguelen Islands, Tasmania, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Tahiti, and then Hawaii (discovered by the expedition). It continued to the northwest coast of North America, making Ledyard perhaps the first U.S. citizen to touch its western coast, along the Aleutian islands and Alaska into the Bering Sea, and back to Hawaii where Cook was killed. The return voyage touched upon Kamchatka, Macau, Batavia (now Jakarta), around the Cape of Good Hope again, and back to England.

Still a marine in the British Navy, Ledyard was sent to North America to fight in the American Revolution. Instead he deserted, returned to Hartford, and began to write his Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage. It was eventually published in 1783, and was the first work to be protected by copyright in the United States.