Needham Crest Needham Family Migration
to Kansas

Robert and Pat Needham were kind enough to give me an enormous collection of old family letters. These letters are as much as 150 years old, and many deal with the span of time over which the family migrated to Leavenworth County, Kansas. I compiled this short historical timeline to help organize both the letters and my own thoughts. General historical events are provided for context, and are highlighted in blue.

May 1854 Kansas Territory open to settlement by the Kansas-Nebraska Act
1855 Leavenworth county is organized
1859 Hannibal & St Joseph RR open from St. Louis to St. Joseph
1859 Harry Still first known to be in Leavenworth (on voter rolls)
Jan 1861 Kansas admitted as a State to the Union
Apr 1861 Civil War begins at Fort Sumpter
May 1862 Homestead Act passed
1862 Harry buys land on Stranger Creek that becomes his farm
Aug 1863 Quantrill raids Lawrence
Mar 1864 Leonice writes a letter from Leavenworth
May 1864 Hawley joins 134th Illinois Infantry Regiment
Oct 1864 Hawley's war service ends
Apr 1865 Civil War ends at Appomattox
Jul 1865 Harry & Leonice wed in Illinois
1865 Kansas Pacific RR is open (nearly) to Topeka
From Hawley's obit: "Mr. Needham came to vicinity of Tonganoxie in 1865, shortly after the close of the war. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Needham and three children came in the spring of 1868, and they all settled on a farm a short distance from Hoge on Stranger Creek. This is the farm on which the Cliffs are located."
1866 The city of Tonganoxie is formally platted
Mar 1866 First known of many letters between Hawley in KS and the rest of the family in Illinois
Aug 1866 Hawley writes from Fairmont, KS, mentions Stills & brother George
1868 George Wm. Needham still doing business in Illinois
Sep 1868 Hawley & Catherine wed in Illinois
Nov 1868 Catherine Lowe Needham writes from Kansas City
May 1869 Transcontinental Railroad completed at Promontory, UT
Jan 1870 George Wm. Needham dies; buried at Wilderness farm
1870 Family members first appear in Leavenworth county census
Again from Hawley's obit: "They resided on their farm until 1878 when they moved to Tonganoxie and settled on the place now occupied by his son, Fred Needham and family."
abt 1875 Charles Fitch Needham moves to Oskaloosa, KS.
1878 Missouri-Pacific Central Branch Railroad opens to Beloit
1880 Still family first known to be in Beloit (from US census)
1880 US census shows Needhams still in Stranger township
1885 KS census shows Needhams in Tonganoxie
Needham Surnames Persons Simmons Links

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