Moultonborough Historical Society

    Moultonborough Post Cane

Presented to the Eldest Resident of Moultonborough by the Moultonborough Historical Society

Current Holder of the Cane

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John "Jack" Learned   

Born: November 2, 1912

Presented the cane December 12, 2011

John Learned 1 

 

John Palmer Learned

John Palmer Learned was born on November 2, 1912 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He remembers that his family kept horses for most of his childhood. Fond pastimes were skating at the Dexter House and the Newburyport Mall. At the Artichoke reservoir, skaters could roast marshmallows on fires set on the ice.

His first trip to this region is quite memorable, especially to those around him. In the summer of 1914 he kept the guests of the Asquam House awake with his crying all night. He has always had a deep affection for the White Mountains. He has climbed Mr. Chocorua, Red Hill, and the Mt. Washington range. In the early craze of skiing, he skied Gunstock, Cannon, Cranmore, and Tuckerman's Ravine. One time he took the snow train to North Conway with his father. While his father skated, he rode the train over to Maple Ridge with the other skiers. The toe strap on the ski fell off (remember those old bindings?), and he had to walk down in waist-deep snow. He nearly missed the train back to Newburyport. On better skis, he won a silver maple leaf at Mont Tremblant.

In 1928 he chaperoned his sister on a camping trip in the Canadian Rockies. He has always had an interest in geology and glaciers. He reprised this trip in 1994 with two daughters. Pictures from the first trip have assisted the Friends of Jasper Park document the shrinkage of the glaciers.

Like many members of his generation, he does not dwell of negative events such as the early deaths of his brother and mother, World War II, the Cocoanut Grove fire, and the Great Depression. His family lost the Learned Shoe Company due to arson in 1929, adding to other financial losses.

He was able to attend and graduate from Harvard College, the class of 1935. He joined the Towle Silversmith Company, his lifelong employer. In World War II, he served in the Navy. Sent to Washington, he was succeeded in his office position by his sister, Lorna Learned, a Wave; perhaps a first for the Navy.   He also served on the U.S.S. Prairie in Argentia, New Foundland.

With good fortune, he met and married Kathryn Morris, a young widow with two daughters. When orders came to serve in the South Pacific, on the Herald of the Morning, the family traveled across the country. Gasoline was severely rationed and once, traveling on an empty tank, they coasted into a Nevada town by opening the car doors to catch the wind.

After the war, they returned to Newburyport and the Towle Company. Mr. Learned was involved in many civic groups, including the YMCA, the library Board, and even running for Mayor.

They built a house on Lake Winnipesauke in 1964 and retired here. He has many hobbies including geology, Red Sox, birdwatching, and cooking. He followed Julia Childs on the television and replicated many of her recipes. A propos of the season, He makes a great Buche de Noel. He embraced new technology from snowmobiling to the internet at age 78. He continues, and will continue, as the family photographer.


Pictures of the Ceremony

 

  

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