ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


August E. Needham

b. 1833, d. 1908



08 02       NEEDHAM BLOCK (607-611 E. Main)

More Improvements.  A. E. Needham had the ground broken Friday for a building on Main Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.  The structure will be 33x70 feet, two stories and the basement.  The first story is intended for a store and the second story for living rooms.  He expects to have it ready for occupancy December 1.     WR



Soldier’s and Citizen’s Album of Biographical Record, Grand Army Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1899 / R 355.3 So4


August E. Needham, Watertown, Wis., a former soldier of the Civil War, was born in Massachusetts, December 19, 1833, and is the son of Joseph and Eliza (Howe) Needham, and claims Yankee ancestry of unmixed purity.  He remained in his native state until the year after his majority, engaged in varied employment as long as he remained under his father’s authority, and afterwards obtained a complete understanding of the trade of a carpenter. 


In 1855 he went to Wisconsin, where he pursued his business as a contractor and builder until the second year of the war, when, becoming convinced that the struggle was of greater moment than at first anticipated, he determined to enlist. 


He enrolled as a soldier in Company B, 29th Wisconsin Infantry, and went into rendezvous at Camp Randall.  The regiment was mustered September 27th and left the state for Cairo November 2nd.  He went from Cairo to Helena where the permanent camp was made across the river and whence he participated in the several expeditions to the White River, the Yazoo River and the St. Francis River, in which he saw much service of a varied character without being engaged in actual battle. 


Mr. Needham was a participant in all the varied experiences of his brigade which were of heroic character from the fact that it was composed of veteran regiments, the 29th being the only one of recent enlistment.  He was on the gunboats when they made a run pas the rebel batteries in April and soon after fought at Port Gibson.  At Champion Hill he saw the capture of the rebel battery which has been the subject of dispute.  After the fight, his brigade was left to bury the dead and he remembers seeing 31 dead artillerymen and two officers, behind whose bodies lay 16 dead horses.  During this action he acted in the capacity of Corporal to which he had been promoted and he was afterward made Sergeant.  He was not in the fight at Jackson, being in the convalescent hospital, having previously been ill and in the hospital.  When the regiment returned to Vicksburg he joined it there and obtained a furlough on which he went home and remained several months. 


During his absence the regiment had been transferred to the Department of the Gulf and he found it in camp near Franklin, La.  He passed about two months in the varied service in which the regiment was engaged, marching and skirmishing until the command went into camp at Algiers, opposite New Orleans.  They remained there until January 5, 1864, going next to Decrow’s Point and returning within a month to Algiers.  The regiment was next detailed to accompany the Red River expedition and Mr. Needham was in the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, where his company suffered severely, going into action with 35 men and returning with 16 able to answer at roll call. 


He was in the difficult and dangerous return to Grand Ecore, going to Alexandria, to Cloutiersville, and to many points of less moment.  In May he was with the force that aided in the construction of Bailey’s dam across the Red River in which service the regiment won the special commendation of the authorities. 


Cross Reference:  Is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery


1909       Memorial Day Services at Needham Gravesite

Watertown Gazette, 05 28 1909


Following is the program outlined by the committees for the observance of Memorial Day on Sunday, May 30:  O. D. Pease Post will attend St. Paul's Episcopal Church in a body at 10:30 o'clock service in the forenoon.  The body of church will be tastefully decorated with flags and bunting, and a choir of thirty-five voices will render the music. 


Sunday, 2 P.M.  Parade will form at the corner Main and North First streets in the following order:


Marshal of the Day and Aides

Northwestern University Band

Northwestern Cadets and Students

Mayor, Commander, O. D. Pease Post and Guests in Carriage

Deutscher Kreiger Verein

Imperial Band

O. D. Pease Post No. 94; G.A.R.

Older G.A.R. Veterans in Conveyance

Children in Carriage to Decorate the Graves of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Lewis

Watertown Band

Common Council in Carriages

Board of Education in Carriages

Woman's Relief Corps in Conveyance

Public Schools

Independent Band

Parochial Schools

Citizens in Carriages


Arriving at the tower in the cemetery the head of the column will halt, open order, and present arms while Grand Army Post passes through to music of fife and drum to the grave of late Comrade A. E. Needham [August], where services according to the G.A.R. ritual will be held . . .



01 23       Mrs. Alzina Needham, 419 Market Street, died on Sunday, January 19, 1913.  She had been ill but a few days, hence her death was a great surprise to our citizens.  Deceased was born November 2, 1833, at Hartford, Washington County, New York, coming to Wisconsin in 1857, and in December 1858, was married to the late Augustus E. Needham.  In 1850 they came to Watertown and made this city their home until called away by death.  Two daughters survive her, being the Misses Jennie and Nellie Needham of this city.  Her funeral was held from her late home Tuesday afternoon, funeral services being conducted by Rev. E. J. Mathews, pastor of the M. E. Church.  The interment was in Oak Hill Cemetery.  In the death of Mrs. Needham Watertown loses one of its most esteemed ladies, for she possessed a sweet and lovable disposition and ever strove to live the life of a true Christian.  A large circle of friends mourn her death most sincerely.   WG


Werlich / Needham Home

719 Market Street




Click upon to enlarge2008 images

Watertown Daily Times, 06 12 1976


An enterprising German realtor, Gustav Werlich, built this Watertown brick Mansard-roofed Second Empire style house in 1860.  At that time Market St. was called Washington St., and the present Washington St. was West Washington. The change to Market St. was made in 1890.  By that time the house had come into the possession of the Needham family.  August Needham originally owned and operated the Toll House on the west end of the Watertown Plank Road.  He later became the proprietor of the local Needham Lumber Co.  Miss Nellie Needham, who taught in rural schools for 20 years, lived in this house for 60 years until her death in 1956 at age 94, the last surviving member of the family.  There is some evidence that a smaller frame home occupied the site of the Needham home before Werlich built the large home (in 1860).  The Needhams extensively remodeled this house in 1910, adding porches on two sides and a front bay window.  Both porches have straight Mansard roofs, while the one on the attic is concave.  The top of the center section of the window is leaded stained glass. 


The Mosers purchased the house in 1974 from Vivian Ferguson.  Particular treasures, reclaimed and polished, extensively repaired and renovated, were a four-sided lantern-shaped chandelier and many beautiful and ornate brass door knobs and plates.  The original kitchen was in the basement.  The house has contained three apartments for over 20 years.


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The City of Watertown, 1867


The City of Watertown, 1885.     Annotated to become WHS_005_873

Market Street of today was East Washington Street in 1872



719 Market Street is one of the oldest homes in Watertown, known for over 70 years as the Needham home.  Records indicate that a small frame home, the nucleus of the larger home was erected in 1842 before the Watertown brickyards began functioning and before the Watertown Plank Road was finished to bring building materials from Milwaukee.


Market Street in 1842 was called Washington Street and the present Washington Street was then known as West Washington.


The Needham family lived outside the city limits for some years and were first listed in the Watertown home in about 1880.  The family lived there until 1956, when the last surviving member of the family, Miss Nellie Needham, died at the age of 94.  The Needhams extensively remodeled the building in 1910, making it a large imposing residence of Watertown brick, Mansard roof, porches on two sides with elaborate fretwork trim, and the front bay window with center section of leaded stained glass.


Augustus Needham, father of the family, operated the Needham Lumber Company in Watertown.


The original lot was large, but much of this has been sold.


David and Mary Moser purchased the home in 1974 from a Vivian Ferguson and have been busy on this extensive do-it-yourself project since.


The original kitchen was in the basement.




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Cross reference note:




Miss Nellie Needham, spry at 90, turned the first spadeful of earth on the former Needham lot adjacent to her home at the corner of S. Eighth and Market streets.  [L-R] Rev. Carlos Asher, pastor and future occupant, Ernest Goetsch, board president, Miss Needham, Seth Perry, board of trustees, Russell Gallup, building committee, Robert Hutson, Hutson-Braun contractors


Needham home: 719 Market; Future parsonage: 208 S. Eighth





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin