John Ledyard, the son of a ship captain, was born in Groton Connecticut in 1751. He headed to sea. He joined Captain Cook on the Resolution and Discovery (the only American on Board;) in Tahiti, he is reportedly the first Westerner to be tattooed – with “Otaheite marks on my hands”.
With cold weather setting in, Cook decided to head to the Sandwich Islands for winter quarters. He was there when Cook was killed. A final journey, begun in June 1788, would be Ledyard's last. On an expedition in Africa, he suffered a digestive ailment that eventually claimed his life in January 1789. John Ledyard was 38 years old.
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