The Mark Needham family

Needham

In memory of Mark Needham who departed this life January 31st 1863 ae 84 years, also Isabella, his wife, died on the 25th day of May 1862 in the 76th year of her age.

Sacred to the memory of W.H. Needham, Esq., Q.C., born at Fredericton, N.B., Dec. 9, 1810, died at Woodstock, N.B., Sept. 29, 1874 ae 63 years. "Requiescat in pace" Also his wife Mary Ann, died at Halifax, N.S., July 17, 1888 aged 70 years.

In memory of Mirianne, widow of Dr. W.R. Fraser, late of Edinburgh, Scotland, died Feb. 8, 1893 in her 81st year.

Our Willie.

“Our Willie,” William Hazen (1853-1860), was the son of William Hazen and Mary Ann (Gale) Needham.

Besides the names of the Needham family inscribed upon the four tombstones, Mark Needham’s youngest daughter, Jane Eliza, died in Fredericton in 1909, at the age of 93, and would have been buried in the family plot. She had been a teacher.

Mrs. M Fraser claims for herself, her sister Jane Eliza Needham, a lot known as the Mark Needham lot. Situate in the westerly part of said ground, enclosed by a wooden paling. This lot [#101] was first assigned to the late Mark Needham, father of the claimants.

Mark Needham, born 1778 in Yorkshire, was the son of an army captain of the 54th Regiment, which was stationed in Fredericton when the city was first laid out. The father died and Mark Needham took on the support of his mother and her three orphaned children. He rose to become a prominent citizen of Fredericton. Needham is the family name of the Earl of Kilmorey, an Irish peerage. The crest of that family is a phoenix, which may account for the origin of Phoenix Square in Fredericton.

In the 1820s, Mark Needham and his family lived in Saint John and he was a member of the St. Andrews Society, 1821-1826. On his return to Fredericton in 1826 he was made an honorary member of that society. In Fredericton he bought town lot #7, part of the old gaol ground. His place of business as an auctioneer was in Carleton Street.

Advertisement, 1837:

Pews for sale: Christ Church, Fredericton, on Saturday, the 19th day of January next at 12 o’clock, will be sold at public auction at the Church several Pews on the ground floor, as also Pews in the Western Gallery. Dated 26th Dec. 1837. Mark Needham auctioneer.

Early in 1822, he was foreman of the jury which brought in a verdict of "not guilty" at the trial of George Frederick Street, Captain John David of the 74th Regiment, and Wentworth Winslow. The charge was murder, George Ludlow Wetmore having been killed on 2 October 1821.

Mark Needham was Treasurer of York County, off and on, until his death in 1863, having been appointed in 1831. He was appointed one of the city assessors in 1848, the year in which Fredericton was incorporated as a city. He was one of the earliest wardens of the first Parish Church (Christ Church) in Fredericton, and was for nine years Quartermaster of the New Brunswick Regiment. He was appointed New Brunswick’s first parliamentary librarian in 1842.

A memorial of Mark Needham, dated 10 April 1804 and addressed to His Royal Highness Field Marshal the Duke of York, Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Forces etc., states that he was the son of a soldier of the 54th Regiment killed in the American war. Mark Needham himself entered, when very young, the 54th Regiment. By the favour of his commanding officer, he obtained his discharge when the regiment was ordered from New Brunswick. He was burdened with the support of two sisters and a brother. He joined the Provincial Regiment when it was raised in 1793 and in the course of nine years’ service he rose through the ranks of Fifer, Corporal, Sergeant, and Paymaster’s clerk, until his Excellency General Carleton (then Colonel of the Regiment) was pleased to promote him to the Quartermastercy.

There was difficulty about obtaining half-pay for Mark Needham. On 7 November 1804, William Hazen wrote on his behalf to Edward Winslow, then in London:

Winslow Papers, p. 552:

As I feel anxious to do everything that can serve a young man of great industry and merit, and as I know what your dispositions and have been on similar occasions, I am confident… Mr. Needham has lately been so unfortunate as to lose an adventure worth an hundred pounds by the singular accident of a Brig being burnt in port at Jamaica. This has taken nearly all the industrious scrapings of his last nine years service, that the support and education of his mother and her orphans had left him.

However, Mark Needham did not receive half-pay. Instead, in 1819, he was granted 500 acres in Carleton County in the 2nd tier west of the St. John River.

Mark Needham married Isabella, a sister of James Fraser, a well-to-do ship owner and trader who had married a daughter of Dr. Charles Earle. Their children were William Hazen (born 1810), Mirianne (born 1812), Isabella Fraser, Jane Eliza (born 10 March 1816, died unmarried 25 September 1909), and Mark Robert, who was born 12 December 1818 and baptised 4 April 1819, according to the Parish Church Register.

The eldest Needham daughter, Mirianne, married Dr. W.R. Fraser, and survived her husband by nearly fifty years. She later resided on St. John Street in Fredericton. Her son, Donald St. George Fraser, married as his second wife, Mary, the daughter of John Gregory and a sister of Albert Gregory, Q.C.

Royal Gazette, Fredericton, NB, 15 May 1844:

Died at 8 Garner’s Crescent, Edinburgh, on Sunday, April 7th, William Fraser, Esquire, Surgeon, aged 36 years, sincerely regretted by all who knew him… Dr. Fraser having during a long period of Professional usefulness in this town gained for himself the high respect and regard of all classes of the community.

Mark Needham’s daughter Isabella married Isaac Woodward Jouet on 28 December 1833. Isaac Jouet predeceased his father, Xenophon Jouet, who had been Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod 1784-1831. When Isabella Jouet was widowed, she taught school. Her three children, Gertrude Garrison, Mark Robert, and Isaac Woodward, lived with her brother, William H. Needham.

Isabella Jouet was married a second time, 21 June 1843, to Benjamin Yerxa of Keswick, a merchant and farmer born in 1802. He was of Dutch extraction, and one of the first of his considerable connection to leave the Church of England and become a Baptist. He was a widower with eight children from his first marriage to Jemima Sisson. He and Isabella had two children, Henry D. Yerxa, who married Sarah Emery, and Edward. They settled in Boston sometime before Benjamin’s death in 1888, and at least two of his grandchildren settled there also.

William Hazen Needham, Mark Needham’s son, attended King’s College, Fredericton, and read law in the office of George Frederick Street. He was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1834 and practised for a short time in Woodstock.

Notice, October 1835:

Needham-Gale. By the Rev. Dr. Gray, William H. Needham, Esquire, of Woodstock, Barrister at Law, to Miss Mary Ann, second daughter of Mr. Benjamin Gale, of St. John.

Mary Ann’s family was from Saint John, where W.H. Needham had spent his youth. She was a sister of James Gale who had then recently settled in Fredericton where he was to become the foremost druggist of his day. A sister conducted a school for ladies in Saint John and, later, when she was Mrs. Hunt, did so in Fredericton.

W.H. and Mary Ann Needham had ten children, nine of whom survived their father: Isabel Ford (born 1838), Margaret Helen (born 1839), Mary Louise Kemmis (born 1840), Henry Mark (born 1843), James White (born 1848), George Clarence (born 1854), Florence Maude (born 1858), Robert Bruce (born 1861), and John Gale (born 1863). William Hazen (1853-1860) is "Our Willie" buried here.

Soon after his marriage, W.H. Needham practised law in Saint John. He was Mayor in 1849 and elected a member of the Legislature for City of Saint John in 1850. W.H. "Billy" Needham was an outstanding man of his time and came of a clever family, as did his wife. His natural ability benefited from association with the most highly trained and experienced legal minds in the Province, having read law in Fredericton with the Honourable George Street, and in the 1850s, upon his return to Fredericton, he became a partner in law of Hon. John Ambrose Street, long the senior Q.C. in the Province.

In 1854, a bill was laid before the New Brunswick Assembly to abolish King’s College, now the University of New Brunswick. It was through the influence of Hon. John Ambrose Street and the eloquence of L.A. Wilmot, Charles Fisher, and W.H. Needham that the college was saved, not forgetting that the Superintendent of Education, Marshall d’Avray, became owner and publisher of the Headquarters, a Fredericton newspaper, in the fight to retain higher education.

Needham was four times Mayor of Fredericton between 1855 and 1868, with the exception of 1859-1861 when James S. Beek held that office. In his first civic election in March 1855, W.H. Needham received 381 votes and his opponent, G.F.H. Minchin, 274 votes. He was a short man, not more than five feet tall, a brilliant speaker and noted for his wit. Many good stories are credited to him. He was popular everywhere, and a prominent member of the Cathedral congregation.

"A Trip to New Brunswick," Cort correspondence, 1870:

…Twenty-four miles from Fredericton, Ox and Major Islands divide the river into three channels. We take the right and approach the little parish of Sheffield. Here a boat hails us and we take on board Judge Fisher and Hon. W.H. Needham of Fredericton, the latter a veritable Jack Falstaff.

Anna Marie Gordon, infant

Gordon

Anna Marie, infant daughter of Edward F. Gordon and Albenia (nee Hart) died Oct. 15th 1851, aged one month and 15 days.

Edward Francis Gordon was born 2 December 1826 in Fort Lawrence, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. He married Albina Maria, daughter of George W. Hartt of Fredericton, on 12 April 1853. Edward Gordon died of consumption on 24 November 1857 in Chicago, and is believed to be buried here. His widow married Daniel McNally in Fredericton on 27 November 1878.

From the Old Burying Ground records, City of Fredericton:

Mrs. D. McNally as heir of her former husband claims a lot near G. F. Anderson, #31 and George Mitchell, #28 lots. Claimed by possession of over twenty years.

Mrs. D. McNally, on behalf of her sister Mrs. John Wiley and brothers Charles S. and George Whitfield Hart claims a lot situate in old part below the Minchin lot [Section E]. Enclosed with stone posts and mark by monuments to claimers’ father and his two wives. Claimed by possession of over thirty years.

See also The Old Burying Ground, Vol. III, p. 67.