Jonas H. Learn
The Learns were an old family long settled in Luzerne county,
Pennsylvania. Like many others, however, in the emigration days of the
last century, they began to cast longing eyes on the rich and cheap lands
of the west and formally resolved to secure some of this fertile region.
The fever of emigration was at its height during the fifties and all the
central valley states of the Middle West got their share of the influx. No
state, however, secured a more desirable class of farmers than Iowa, into
which poured a rich stream of the best German, Scandinavian and American
blood, whose work later told strongly in the development of the state. New
Yorkers, Ohioans, Pennsylvanians and New Englanders were conspicuous among
the vanguard invading the fertile young commonwealth beyond the
Mississippi. To trace the story of some of these families is the object of
these writings and among the number we find Charles Learn, who came from
Pennsylvania in 1855, when Iowa was still raw as an agricultural state. He
was accompanied by his wife and eight children, the trip being made from
McGregor by team. As soon as he had landed on the prairie he bought forty
acres where J. H. Learn now resides. It was at that time wild land, but he
cleared the place and temporarily erected a log building for shelter.
Later he added another forty acres to his original hundred and lived there
until his death.
J. H. Learn, one of the sons of the foregoing, was born in Luzerne county,
Pennsylvania, in 1849. He grew up on the home place and was educated in
the common schools. With the exception of about six years he has lived on
the home farm. Farming has been his sole occupation and he has met with
success in his calling, but only by the hardest and most exacting work.
However, he is a good manager, knows how to make both ends meet and at the
end of the year generally has a balance to show on the right side of the
ledger. When he started in he pre-empted a homestead, and to this he has
added fifty acres. He confines his efforts to general farming and stock
raising, not attempting any fancy flights and avoiding everything like
On December 19, 1876, Mr. Learn married Rachel Havenstrete, daughter of
Francis and Clementine Havenstrete, all of Pennsylvania. They came to Iowa
in 1868 and settled in Dover township, near the Clermont line. Their
children are: Clarence, a student and teacher in Washington University,
St. Louis; Nellie, at home; Roy, a farmer in Dover township; Charles, at
home. The family are members of the Evangelical church and Mr. Learn's
political affiliations are with the Republican party."