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James Zug – First Descent of Connecticut River

October 18 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Live Event with Book Signing
6:00 pm
Free for CRM Members
$5.00 for Non-Members


James Zug, Author, American Traveler: The Life and Adventures of John Ledyard



CRM Talks Speaker Series: James Zug
First Descent of Connecticut River
Tuesday, October 18 |6:00—7:00 pm

First Descent of Connecticut River

Who was the first person in recorded history to descend the Connecticut River? It was a most unlikely person, a debt-ridden Dartmouth man, John Ledyard. In May 1773 Ledyard performed the feat, spending a full week canoeing the river. He didn’t do the entire Connecticut from source to sea, but rather from Hanover, NH to Hartford, CT. It wasn’t just because wanted an adventure: Ledyard, having just finished his first year as a student at Dartmouth, was fleeing the campus with unpaid tuition bills. But it became the stuff of legend, inspiring generations of Dartmouth students (including Robert Frost). For over a century, Dartmouth students have reenacted his trip, canoeing from Hanover down the river to Old Saybrook.

Ledyard went on to become America’s first famous explorer. He sailed with Captain Cook on Cook’s third and fatal voyage. Friends with Thomas Jefferson, he became the original Lewis & Clark Expedition. He traveled across Siberia. He died in Cairo in 1789 on his way to find the source of another great river, the Niger.

James Zug is an award-winning historian and journalist. He received a masters in nonfiction writing from Columbia and has written for the Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Outside and Boston Globe. He is the author of a half dozen books including a biography of John Ledyard that was named an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review. He also edited John Ledyard’s collected writings, which was published by National Geographic.

Photo Courtesy of James Zug


October 18
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Jane S Raunikar
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Connecticut River Museum
67 Main Street
Essex, CT 06426 United States
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