Jons (Johan or Johann in South Africa) Persson came to southern Africa from Sweden in 1867 and worked in the Transvaal as a diamond prospector and surveyor. From 1869 to 1871 he collected many insects, most of them in the neighbourhood of Christiana, though many were from Potchefstroom and the Waterberg, and a few from Pretoria. The main part of the collection consisted of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, but there were also some specimens belonging to other orders. Persson is said to have returned to Sweden late in 1872 (Brinck, 1955), however, in February 1873 he applied for an appointment as government land surveyor in the Transvaal. During 1873 his collection was presented to the Malme Museum. As the specimens were delivered to the museum by his brother Nils, the latter's name appeared in the museum's register and later he was wrongly assumed to be the collector. H.D.J. Wallengren worked on the collection and published a report on the Lepidoptera, Neuroptera and Hemiptera in Insecta Transvaaliensia in 1875, and a first report on the Coleoptera in 1881. Many species were described as new. Wallengren too assumed that Nils Persson had been the collector. The Lepidoptera remained in the Malme Museum, but the rest of the collection was transferred to the Entomological Museum of the Zoological Institute in Lund.
By 1877 Jons Persson was a surveyor residing at Potchefstroom, where he married Susan Chick in 1880. In 1886, following the discovery of gold at Klerksdorp, he surveyed a new town and townlands there, but died the next year.