John Nicholas Clemons was the son of John Clemons, an engineer in the lace making industry, and his wife Mary Ann Tonge. He was born in Tiverton, Devon, on 7 Aug 1835. He was a pupil-teacher for five years at the British School in Tiverton and underwent further training at the British and Foreign School Society's College in London. From there John was selected to teach in Tasmania, arriving in Hobart 2 Dec 1855. He first taught at St Paul's School, Launceston, then in St John's Hall in Elizabeth Street. At the end of 1860 his five year bond expired and he resigned.
In 1861 John married Annie Tucker. They had eight children, five surviving to adulthood. John rejoined the Education Department in 1862 and was appointed as head teacher at St Luke's School in Campbell Town where he remained for 10 years. He was a founder of the Campbell Town Institute. From 1873 to 1888 he taught at the Evandale School. In 1889 he became headmaster of the new Invermay School. John joined the Launceston Liedertafel and the Launceston Philharmonic Society and sang bass in the Exhibition Choir. In 1892 he moved to the Charles Street School until his retirement in 1896. He died at the Tuckers' old mill property at St Leonards 15 Nov 1905. See The Examiner 3 Jun 2006, p. 34.